- 02 May 2023
- Mike Chase
- Jet Comparisons
How do the Gulfstream G600, Bombardier Global 6500 and Bombardier Global 6000 compare side-by-side, and what advantages are offered by each model? Mike Chase analyses the performance and productivity parameters.Back to Articles
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider key productivity parameters for the Gulfstream G600, Bombardier Global 6000, and newer Bombardier Global 6500, including payload, range, speed, and cabin size.
The aim is to establish which aircraft provides the better value in the Large Jet market, and for whom. How much of a performance upgrade did Bombardier provide brand-loyal customers through the Global 6500, and where does Gulfstream’s G600 fit into the equation?
The Gulfstream G600 entered service in 2019, replacing the highly successful Gulfstream G550. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines, the G600 can reach a maximum altitude of 51,000ft and needs 5,900ft to take off when fully loaded.
The Gulfstream G600 offers an advanced ventilation system that can replace the cabin’s air with 100% fresh air in just two minutes, helping reduce the effects of jet lag.
The cockpit comes equipped with an ‘intelligence-by-wire’ flight system that provides highly calibrated flight controls, autothrottles and autobrakes to ensure peak engine performance and smoother, safer landings. The Enhanced Vision System is linked to a head-up display.
At the time of writing, there were 122 Gulfstream G600s in operation worldwide, with 121 of those being wholly owned. By continent, North America was home to 83% of the in-operation fleet, followed by Europe (12%) and Asia (3%), for a combined total of 98%.
Bombardier Global 6000
The Global Express XRS was rebranded as the Bombardier Global 6000 in May 2011 with production starting in 2012. Offering a maximum altitude of 51,000ft, the Global 6000 features two additional cabin windows while retaining the flexible wing structure of the original Global Express. Cabin sound levels and pressurization were both enhanced.
In the cockpit, the instrument panel has four 15-inch landscape configuration displays. The PFDs offer standard synthetic vision, while a Rockwell Collins HGS-6000 capable of supporting both EVS and SVS background imagery is also incorporated.
There were 330 Bombardier Global 6000s in operation at the time of writing, with 296 being wholly owned, four in shared ownership, and 30 in fractional programs. North America accounted for the largest fleet percentage (40%), followed by Europe (31%) and Asia (21%), accounting for a combined 92% of the fleet total.
Bombardier Global 6500
Offering a high-comfort cabin and extra range, the Bombardier Global 6500 was certified in 2019. The aircraft features a re-designed wing and new Rolls-Royce BR700-710D5 engines to achieve its increased range, and Mach 0.9.
Bombardier markets the cockpit on the Global 6500 as the first in the industry to offer a true combined vision system, seamlessly merging enhanced and synthetic vision images in a single view on the head-up display, helping reduce crew workload and increase situational awareness.
At the time of writing, there were 70 Global 6500s in operation worldwide, including 67 wholly owned units and three in fractional programs. North America had the largest fleet percentage (55%), followed by Europe (23%) and Asia (19%), accounting for 97% of the world’s Global 6500 fleet.
When comparing business jets, an important area for potential operators to focus on is the payload capability, and especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’.
Table A shows the Bombardier Global 6500 ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ to be the greatest (2,805lbs). By comparison, the Gulfstream G600 offers 2,600lbs while the Global 6000 provides 2,407lbs.
Table A - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Payload Comparison
As shown in Chart A, the cabin height is the same for all three aircraft (6.2ft). However, the Bombardier Global 6000 and Global 6500 cabin width is greater than the Gulfstream G600’s (7.9ft versus 7.6ft).
Not depicted in the graphic, Gulfstream’s G600 provides a greater cabin length, at 45.2ft. By comparison, the Global 6500’s and Global 6000’s cabin length is 43.3ft.
Chart A - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Cabin Comparison
The Global 6000 and Global 6500 offer greater overall cabin volume (2,002cu.ft) than the G600 (1,884cu.ft). Note: These cabin volume measurements cover the net main seating area but do not factor the lavatory.
The Gulfstream G600 (175cu.ft) has less internal luggage space than the Global 6500 and the Global 6000 (195cu.ft). None of them offer external luggage space.
Using Wichita, Kansas as the start point, Chart B shows the Bombardier Global 6500 (6,636nm) and the Gulfstream G600 with a range of 6,630nm carrying eight passengers and available fuel. The Global 6000 has a range of 6,124nm.
Chart B - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Range Comparison
Note: For business jets, ‘eight 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.
The Gulfstream G600 has two Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines, providing 15,680lbst each and burning 411 gallons of fuel/hour (g/hr).
By comparison, the Bombardier Global 6500 has a pair of Rolls-Royce BR700-710D5-21 engines producing 15,125lbst each. These burn 444g/hr fuel. The two Rolls-Royce BR700-710A2-20 engines utilized by the Global 6000, meanwhile, produce 14,750lbst each and burn 484g/hr.
Cost per Mile Comparison
Chart C details ‘Cost per Mile’ of the three business jets, factoring direct costs and with each aircraft flying a 6,000nm mission with a 1,600lbs (eight passengers) payload.
Chart C - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Cost Per Mile Comparison
The Global 6500 ($10.40/nm) has the highest variable cost. The least costly is the Gulfstream G600 ($9.34/nm), while the Global 6000 costs $9.88/nm.
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.
Chart D - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Variable Cost Comparison
The Gulfstream G600 ($3,210/hr) has the lowest variable cost compared to the Global 6000 ($3,437/hr) and Global 6500 ($3,332/hr).
Market Comparison Table
Table B contains the 2023-model prices (per Aircraft Bluebook, Winter 2023) for each aircraft. Also, listed are the cruise speed and range numbers (per B&CA), while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale, and average sold are from JETNET.
Table B - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Market Comparison
At the time of writing, the average number of new/used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months was 2.8 for the Gulfstream G600, 2.4 for the Global 6500, and 3.4 for the Global 6000.
Used Aircraft Retail Sale Trends
There were six Gulfstream G600s available for sale on the used aircraft market at the time of writing, none of which displayed an asking price. Two Bombardier Global 6500s were listed for sale, both inviting buyers to make inquiries, and eighteen Global 6000s were available for sale, for of which had asking prices that ranged between $17.85m and $33.5m.
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 decided between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
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, 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 decreases the percentage available each year by 20% and will eventually phase out altogether on December 31, 2026. Starting January 1, 2024, the percentage rate available is 60%.
The increased productivity of the Global 6500 over the Global 6000 is evident and owes to the increase in range and speed in the Global 6500 within the chart. Additionally, the Global 6500 has the highest ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ of the field and shares its cabin volume with the Global 6000, providing more capacity than the G600.
Table C, D and E depict examples of using the MACRS schedule for a 2023-model Gulfstream G600, Bombardier Global 6500 and Global 6000 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published by Aircraft Bluebook (Winter 2023).
Tables C, D and E - Sample MACRS Tax Schedules
The points in Chart E are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in Aircraft Bluebook (Winter 2023). 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. Eight passenger range (nm) with available fuel
2. Long-range cruise flown to achieve that range
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
Chart E - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Global 6000 Productivity Comparison
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed and cabin size.
The Gulfstream G600 offers greater range and payload capability than the Global 6000 and has the lowest per-mile and hourly operating costs of the group, but it comes with the highest price tag (2023-model).
Essentially, the gap between the competitors on this productivity chart is not large, and buyers must carefully weigh mission needs and operating budget in light of what each aircraft offers.
Moreover, when considering ultra-long-range and large cabin jets, buyers will need to consider the technologies each aircraft offers to ensure safe, comfortable travel for both crew and passengers, which is beyond the scope of this comparison.
Within these paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business jet operators value, although there are other qualities, including airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb that might factor in a buying decision.
With plenty for buyers to consider, all three business jets offer great value in the market, and should continue to do so in the foreseeable future.