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AIRCRAFT COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS - BOMBARDIER GLOBAL EXPRESS

November 2009

Category: Corporate Aircraft – Comparative Analysis

Author: Mike Chase

Aircraft Comparative Analysis Bombardier Global Express

A look at the ultra-long-range pre-owned aircraft market.

In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis, we will provide information on two pre-owned business jets in the ultra-long-range jet category for the purpose of valuing the pre-owned Global Express that was produced from 1999 to 2005.

We’ll consider the productivity parameters - payload/range, speed and cabin size, and cover current and future market values. The field in this study includes the Global Express and the Gulfstream GV aircraft produced from 1995 to 2002.

The Bombardier Global Express BD-700 was first announced in October 1991 at the annual NBAA Conference that year. The Global Express was to become one of a new class of ultra-long-range corporate jets, and was positioned to compete with the Gulfstream GV, Boeing BBJ, and Airbus A319CJ.

The Global Express was designed to fly long distances at a high speed, and could fly between any two points on the globe and need only one refueling stop. The aircraft was officially launched on December 20, 1993, and its first flight was on October 13, 1996. Canadian certification was awarded on July 31, 1998, and US certification followed in November 1998, before the first customer deliveries took place in the first quarter of 1999.

The Global Express shares the Canadair Regional Jet’s fuselage cross section, but features an advanced all new supercritical wing with a 35 degree sweep, and winglets - plus a new tail. The engines are BMW Rolls-Royce BR710’s with FADEC. The advanced flight deck features six Honeywell Primus 2000XP EFIS suite screens, and is offered with optional heads-up displays. Today, the Global Express can be RVSM certified when Service Bulletin SB-700-34-014 is complied with.

PAYLOAD AND RANGE
The data in Table A (top left) is published in the Business & Commercial Aviation, May 2009 issue, but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. As we mentioned in past articles, a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor. The Global Express ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 1,792 pounds compares to 1,500 pounds for the GV.

CABIN VOLUME
According to Conklin & de Decker, the cabin volume of the Global Express at 2,140 cubic feet is larger than the GV by 471 cubic feet of additional space, as shown in Table B and Chart A (left).

POWERPLANT DETAILS
As mentioned previously, the Global Express is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710-A2-20 engines, each offering 14,750 pounds of thrust. The Gulfstream GV is also powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710-A1-10 engines each offering the same 14,750 pounds of thrust output.

Using data published in the May 2009 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2009 B&CA Operations Planning Guide, we will compare our aircraft. The nationwide average Jet-A fuel cost as published in the August 2009 edition was $4.25 per gallon at the time of press, so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

COST PER MILE COMPARISONS
Chart B (left) details the “Cost per Mile” of each aircraft, and factors direct costs - with both aircraft flying a 3,000nm mission with a 1,600 pound (eight passengers) payload. The results show the Global Express (at $7.12 cost per nautical mile) is less to operate than the Gulfstream GV at $7.58.

TOTAL VARIABLE COST COMPARISONS
The “Total Variable Cost”, illustrated in Chart C (top right), is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense, Maintenance Labor Expense, Scheduled Parts Expense, and Miscellaneous trip expense.

The total variable cost per hour for the Global Express at $3,374 is a fraction less than the Gulfstream GV at $3,394.

PRODUCTIVITY COMPARISONS
The points in Chart D (right) center on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA August 2009 Operations Planning Guide and Vref. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:

1. Range with full payload and available fuel;
2. The long range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.

The result is a very large number so for the purpose of charting, each result is divided by one billion. The examples plotted are confined to the aircraft in this study. A computed curve fit on this plot would not be very tight, but when all business jet aircraft are considered the “r” squared factor would equal a number above 0.9. Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with Price, Range, Speed and Cabin Size.

After consideration of the Price, Range, Speed and Cabin Size, we can conclude that the Global Express as shown in the productivity index Chart D, is highly productive in this comparison.

In a direct comparison to the Gulfstream GV in this study, the Global Express: has a larger cabin volume; has a greater “Available payload with Maximum Fuel”; has both lower cost per mile and variable cost. However, in the category of the ultra-longrange and large cabin, the Global Express at 5,940 nm falls short of the Gulfstream V (at 6,250 nm).

AVERAGE RETAIL PRICES
Table C (right) contains the average retail prices from Vref for each aircraft (with the latest model produced and the price year in parentheses). The average speed, cabin volume and maximum payload values are from Conklin & de Decker and B&CA magazine. The number of aircraft in-operation, percentage “For Sale”, and the number “Sold” over the past 12 months are from JETNET as of the end of August 2009.

Table C shows that the Global Express has averaged 1.3 aircraft sold per month in the past 12 months. This average per month is lower than the GV (1.5 aircraft sold per month). In addition, there is only 5.2% of the fleet of GVs for sale compared with 16% of the Global Express fleet.

AVERAGE LENGTH IN YEARS OF AIRCRAFT OWNERSHIP
The ‘Average Length of Ownership’ for factory new Global Express owners is 3.8 years, and that number drops to 1.8 years for preowned aircraft owners. This information is from the JETNET Evolution and STAR reporting systems, and can be valuable for dealer/broker repeat business, with respect to anticipating frequency of aircraft ownership changes.

LOCATION BY CONTINENT
The major ‘based-at’ locations for the Global Express are in Europe and United States, where an aggregate 86% of the fleet resides. Table D (top left) shows a break-down of locations worldwide.

SUMMARY
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value in an aircraft.

There are other qualities that could be considered, such as airport performance, terminal area performance, time to climb performance, and maximum transition altitude levels that might factor in a buying decision, too, though.

The Global Express fares well against its competition, so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the Global Express will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market for the foreseeable future.

For more information: Michael Chase is president of Chase & Associates, and can be contacted at 1628 Snowmass Place, Lewisville, TX 75077; Tel: 214-226-9882; Web: www.mdchase.aero

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