(MENAFN - AFP) Business jet maker Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. on Tuesday announced a deal to sell 60 aircraft to a Chinese leasing company, one of the largest orders in the US company's history.
The agreement, signed with Minsheng Financial Leasing Co. in the fourth quarter last year, includes firm orders for 40 Gulfstream aircraft and options for 20 more, the company said in a statement. Financial details were not disclosed.
Private jet use in China is small but rapidly growing, backed by demand from wealthy individuals and Chinese companies operating overseas, industry officials say.
The order includes planes from across Gulfstream's product line, including the G280, G450, G550 and G650. Deliveries to Minsheng will start in 2015, a Gulfstream spokesman said.
"It's a significant order. We think it's a commentary on the China market and on Gulfstream," Scott Neal, Gulfstream's senior vice president for sales and marketing, told AFP on the sidelines of an industry show in Shanghai.
He added the event was "appropriate" to make a public announcement, even though the deal was closed last year.
The Gulfstream fleet in greater China stands at more than 130 aircraft, according to the company. Gulfstream is a subsidiary of aerospace and defence firm General Dynamics.
Minsheng Financial Leasing, owned by China Minsheng Banking Corp., said the Gulfstream order was the largest in the company's history. Founded in 2008, Minsheng has purchased more than 200 aircraft to date, an official said.
The number of business jets in greater China -- which includes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan -- rose from 203 in 2011 to 371 at the end of last year, including 248 in mainland China alone, according to Hong Kong-based aviation consultancy Asian Sky Group.