- 01 Oct 2021
- Mike Chase
- Jet Comparisons
How do the Bombardier Challenger 650 and Dassault Falcon 2000LXS compare side-by-side? What are the advantages offered by each model? Mike Chase compares performance and productivity...Back to Articles
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider key productivity parameters for the Bombardier Challenger 650 and Dassault Falcon 2000LXS (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which Large Jet provides the better value, and for which potential operators.
Will a range difference of 40nm prove to be the determining factor? It is hoped that the following will help clarify...
Bombardier Challenger 650
The Bombardier Challenger 650 is the newest in the Challenger 600-series of jets. It replaced the Challenger 605 in 2015. The model remains in production today and features a completely re-designed cabin compared to previous jets in the family.
With a maximum attitude of 41,000ft, the Challenger 650 flies with two GE CF34-3B MTO engines which deliver 5% more thrust than is available on previous Challenger 600 models. Greater airport versatility is also provided, with the Challenger 650 requiring less field length than earlier variants.
As of this writing, there were 95 wholly owned Challenger 650 jets in operation with another 36 in fractional ownership. Of the total 131 units in operation, North America has the largest fleet percentage (62%), followed by Europe (26%) and Asia (8%), according to JETNET.
Dassault Falcon 2000LXS
The Dassault Falcon 2000LXS entered the market in 2013 and remains in production today. Designed as a replacement for the Falcon 2000LX, one of the biggest differentiating features of the Falcon 2000LXS is its short field capability. The reduced landing distance allows access to more airports compared to other jets in its class.
Capable of a maximum attitude of 47,000ft, the Falcon 2000LXS is powered by two Pratt and Whitney Canada PWC308C engines, each offering 7,000 pounds of thrust.
Worldwide, there are 129 units in operation, with 128 wholly owned Dassault Falcon 2000LXS jets and one in shared ownership, according to JETNET. By continent, North America has the largest fleet percentage (68%), followed by Europe (18%) and Asia (10%), accounting for a combined fleet total of 96%.
When comparing business jets, an important area for potential operators to focus on is payload capability, and especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’.
Table A shows the Bombardier Challenger 650’s ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ to be 1,298lbs, which is 292lbs less than is offered by the Dassault Falcon 2000XLS (1,590lbs).
Table A: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Payload Comparison
As depicted in Chart A, at 6.0ft, the cabin height of the Bombardier Challenger 650 is slightly less than the Dassault Falcon 2000LXS (6.2ft). However, the Challenger 650 offers slightly more width (7.9ft versus 7.7ft).
The Falcon 2000LXS has a cabin length of 26.2ft, whereas the Challenger 650 offers 25.6ft. Nevertheless, the Challenger 650 provides more overall cabin volume (1,146cu.ft. versus 1,028cu.ft.).
In terms of executive seating, the Challenger 650 is typically configured for 12, while the Falcon 2000LXS is typically configured for eight. The Falcon 2000LXS provides more luggage space, with an internal baggage volume of 131cu.ft (versus 112cu.ft. on the Challenger 650). Moreover, the Falcon 2000LXS offers 8cu.ft. of external luggage room, while the Challenger 650 provides none.
Chart A: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Cabin Comparison
Using Wichita, Kansas as the start point, Chart B shows the Bombardier Challenger 650 has a range of 4,025nm with four passengers and available fuel, compared to the Falcon 2000LXS, which has a slightly greater 4,065nm range.
Chart B: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Range Comparison
Note: For business jets, ‘Four Pax Range’ represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at long range cruise. The NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation is for a 200nm alternate. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
As mentioned, the Bombardier Challenger 650 has two GE CF34-3B engines, providing 9,220lbst each, and burning 288 gallons of fuel per hour (GPH). By comparison, the Dassault Falcon 2000LXS has two P&WC PW308C engines, each producing 7,000lbst and burning 240GPH.
Cost per Mile Comparison
Chart C details the ‘Cost per Mile’ of the two jets, factoring direct costs and with each aircraft flying a 1,000nm mission with 800lbs (four passengers) payload. The Falcon 2000LXS ($6.56/nm) has a nominally higher variable cost than the Challenger 650 ($6.48/nm) – a difference of eight cents.
Chart C: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Cost Per Mile Comparison
Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Variable Cost’ illustrated in Chart D is defined as the estimated cost of fuel, maintenance labor, scheduled parts, and miscellaneous trip expenses (e.g. hangar, crew, and catering). These costs DO NOT represent a direct source into every flight department and their trip support expenses.
For comparative purposes, the costs presented are the relative differences, not the actual differences since these may vary from one flight department to another.
The Bombardier Challenger 650 ($2,317/hr) has a higher variable cost compared to the Falcon 2000LXS ($2,130/hr) – a difference of $187 in favor of the Falcon 2000LXS.
Chart D: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Hourly Cost Comparison
Market Comparison Table
Table B contains the 2022 prices for a new Challenger 650 and Falcon 2000LXS (per B&CA), which stood at $32.4m and $35.1m, respectively. Also listed are the long-range cruise speeds and range numbers (per B&CA). The number of aircraft in-operation, the fleet percentage for sale, and the average sold are from JETNET.
At the time of writing, the average number of new and used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months was two for the Challenger 650 and three for the Falcon 2000LXS.
Table B: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Market Comparison
Used Aircraft Retail Sale Transactions
As of November 7, 2022, there were two Bombardier Challenger 650 jets for sale. The 2016 model had an asking price of $21m, while the 2021 model invited inquiries. There were two Dassault Falcon 2000LXS jets for sale – both 2014 models, and both requesting inquiries. One of the Falcon 2000LXS
While each aircraft serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variation in the price of a specific aircraft – even between two aircraft from the same year of manufacture. The final negotiated price remains to be agreed between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
Chart E and Chart F display the Bombardier Challenger 650 and Dassault Falcon 2000LXS, respectively, and depicts the Maximum Maintenance Equity available, based on aircraft age, per Asset Insight.
• The Maximum Maintenance Equity figure was achieved the day the aircraft came off the production line, since it had not accumulated any utilization toward any maintenance events.
• The percent of the Maximum Maintenance Equity that an average aircraft will have available, based on its age, assumes:
- Average annual utilization: 420 Flight Hours
- All maintenance is completed when due.
Charts E and F: Bombardier Challenger 650 and Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Maximum Maintenance Equity
Aircraft that are owned and operated by businesses are often depreciable for income tax purposes under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Under MACRS, taxpayers can use accelerated depreciation of assets by taking a greater percentage of the deductions during the first few years of the applicable recovery period.
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS), based on a straight-line method meaning that equal deductions are taken during each year of the applicable recovery period. In most cases, recovery periods under ADS are longer than recovery periods available under MACRS.
There is a variety of factors that taxpayers must consider in determining if an aircraft may be depreciated, and, if so, the correct depreciation method and recovery period that should be utilized. For example, aircraft used in charter service (i.e. Part 135) are normally depreciated under MACRS over a seven-year recovery period, or under ADS using a twelve-year recovery period.
Aircraft used for qualified business purposes, such as Part 91 business use flights, are generally depreciated under MACRS over a period of five years or by using ADS with a seven-year recovery period. There are certain uses of the aircraft, such as non-business flights, that may have an impact on the allowable depreciation deduction available in any given year.
The US enacted the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017. Under the Act, qualifying taxpayers could deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft purchased and placed in service before January 1, 2023.
After December 31, 2022, the Act is due to decrease the percentage available each year by 20% to depreciate qualified business jets until December 31, 2026. Therefore, as of January 1, 2023, the Bonus Depreciation was set to reduce to 80%.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-model Bombardier Challenger 650 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published by B&CA at the time of writing.
Table C: Bombardier Challenger 650 Sample MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-model Falcon 2000 LXS in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published by B&CA.
Table D: Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Sample MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
The points in Chart G are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in B&CA. The productivity index requires further discussion since factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:
1. Four Passenger Range (nm) with available fuel
2. The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
Chart G: Bombardier Challenger 650 vs Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Productivity Comparison
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin size.
Ultimately, this comparison depicts two highly competitive aircraft. While the Bombardier Challenger 650 costs almost $3m less to buy factory new ($32.4m vs $35.1m), the Dassault Falcon 2000LXS jet has a lower variable operating cost of approximately $180 per hour. Indeed, the Challenger 650 burns more fuel per hour than the Falcon 2000LXS.
The Challenger 650 provides slightly more cabin volume, while the Falcon 2000LXS has slightly greater range, which it covers with a marginally higher cruise speed (437kts vs 424kts).
One big differentiator is the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’, with the outcome favoring the Falcon 2000LXS.
Returning to the opening question of whether a range difference of 40nm with 4 passengers with a 41,000 ft provide a competitive edge, the broader study of these two jets shows they are very well matched, with fine margins tilting one jet in favor of the other, depending on the mission need.
Prospective buyers must weigh the attributes of each jet very carefully to determine which is the best fit for their flight operations.
Within these paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business jet operators value, although there are other qualities, such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb that might factor in a buying decision.
Essentially, both jets featured in this comparison offer great value in the market today and should continue to prove popular for as long as production continues, and on the pre-owned market thereafter.
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