- 31 Mar 2023
- Mike Chase
- Jet Comparisons
How do the Gulfstream G600, Bombardier Global 6500 and the Dassault Falcon 8X compare side-by-side? What are the specific advantages 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 6500 and Dassault Falcon 8X (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which aircraft provides value in different aspects.
With each of these three Ultra-Long-Range & Large Cabin business jets capable of flying more than 6,000 nautical miles, what is the ‘sweet spot’ that drives a buying decision? Would it be price, speed, cabin comfort, safety, or operating costs?
The Gulfstream G600 entered service in 2019, replacing the Gulfstream G550. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines the aircraft can reach a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet and offers a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925.
The Gulfstream G600's advanced ventilation system can replace the air in the cabin with 100% fresh air replenished in just two minutes – a measure that Gulfstream says reduces the impact of jet lag.
In the cockpit the jet is equipped with Gulfstream’s ‘intelligence-by-wire’ flight system that provides highly calibrated flight controls, auto throttles and autobrakes to ensure peak engine performance and smoother, safer landings.
As of March 2023, a fleet of 96 Gulfstream G600s were in operation around the world, 95 of which were wholly owned. North America was home to 82%, while Europe accounted for 12%, and Asia had 4%.
Like the G600, Bombardier’s Global 6500 entered service in 2019. It features a re-designed wing and Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 engines helping it achieve a top speed of Mach 0.9.
The aircraft’s cockpit offers a Combined Vision System, merging enhanced and synthetic vision images in a single view on the head-up display.
As of this writing, 46 Bombardier Global 6500 jets were in operation around the world, with 43 being wholly owned. North America accounted for the largest fleet percentage (55%), followed by Europe (26%) and Asia (15%).
Dassault’s Falcon 8X entered service in 2016 and offered a range improvement of 500nm compared to the Falcon 7X which was achieved via an additional center-fuselage fuel tank and a lighter, redesigned wing (which makes the Falcon 8X extremely competitive on short runways).
Powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines optimized to offer 6,722 pounds of thrust each, the Falcon 8X has a top speed of Mach 0.9 while having lower carbon emissions.
As of this writing, there were 92 Falcon 8X jets in operation worldwide, all of which were wholly owned. By continent, Europe accounted for the largest fleet percentage (53%), followed by North America (17%), then Asia (16%).
When comparing business jets, one key area for potential operators to focus on is payload capability, and especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’. Table A shows the Bombardier Global 6500 ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ to be 2,805lbs, which is more than the 2,600lbs offered by the Gulfstream G600 and the 1,959lbs offered by the Dassault Falcon 8X.
Table A - G600 vs Global 500 vs Falcon 8X Payload Comparison
Source: B&CA, OEMs, Conklin & de Decker
As shown in Chart A, the cabin height (6.2ft) is the same for all three aircraft. However, the Bombardier Global 6500 cabin (7.9ft) is a little wider than the Dassault Falcon 8X (7.7ft) and Gulfstream G600 (7.6ft).
Not depicted on the chart, the Gulfstream G600 offers the longer cabin of the field, at 45.2ft. By comparison, the Global 6500 offers 43.3ft cabin length, and the Falcon 8X, 42.7ft.
Overall, the Bombardier Global 6500 offers the largest cabin volume at 1,945cu.ft., based on the net main seating area only. The Global 6500 also offers the roomier internal luggage space at 195cu.ft.
Chart A - G600 vs Global 6500 vs Falcon 8X Cabin Comparison
Source: UPCAST Jetbook
Using Paris, France as the start point, Chart B depicts the ‘eight passengers with available fuel’ range for each jet. All three are capable of connecting most of the world – including China, Brazil and the USA, but the G600 and Global 6500 have 6,600nm range, while the Falcon 8X offers 6,450nm.
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.
Chart B - G600 vs Global 6500 vs Falcon 8X Range Comparison
Source: OEMs, Chase & Associates
As mentioned, the Dassault Falcon 8X has three Pratt & Whitney PW307D engines producing 6,722lbst each. These burn 347 gallons of fuel/hour (per Conklin & de Decker). By comparison, the two Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines installed on the Gulfstream G600 provide 15,680lbst each and burn 500 gallons of fuel an hour.
Finally, the Bombardier Global 6500 utilizes a pair of Rolls Royce BR700-710D5-21 (Pearl 15) engines that produce 15,125lbst each and burn 509 gallons of fuel an hour.
Chart C details the ‘Cost per Mile’ of the comparative field, and factors direct costs with each aircraft flying a 6,000nm mission with a 1,600lbs (eight passengers) payload.
The Falcon 8X is the more frugal jet at $8.04 per nautical mile, which is 10.8% less than the Gulfstream G600 (at $9.01/nm) and 18.4% less than the Global 6500 (at $9.85/nm).
Chart C - G600 vs Global 6500 vs Falcon 8X Cost Per Mile 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.
As depicted, the Dassault Falcon 8X ($2,846 per hour) has the lowest variable cost, which is 13.4% less than the Gulfstream G600 ($3,222/hr) and 16.4% less than the Bombardier Global 6500 ($3,312/hr).
Chart D - G600 vs Global 6500 vs Falcon 8X Variable Cost Comparison
Table B contains the prices (per B&CA) for a 2022 factory-new Gulfstream G600, Bombardier Global 6500 and Dassault Falcon 8X. Also, listed are the long-range cruise speed and range numbers (also per B&CA), while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale (pre-owned), and monthly average sold (new and pre-owned) are from JETNET.
The average number of new/used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months were two for the Gulfstream G600, one for the Global 6500, and under one per month for the Falcon 8X as of the end of March 2023.
Table B - G600 vs Global 6500 vs Falcon 8X Market Comparison
Source: OEMs, Conklin & de Decker, B&CA, JETNET
As of April 12, 2023, there was one Gulfstream G600 and one Bombardier Global 6500 for sale on the pre-owned market, both of which invited offers from interested parties. Two Dassault Falcon 8X jets were available for sale, one of which had an asking price of $50.25m.
While each aircraft serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variation in value price of a specific pre-owned aircraft – even between two jets from the same year of manufacture. The final negotiated price must ultimately be decided between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
Charts E, F and G display the Gulfstream G600, Bombardier Global 6500 and Dassault Falcon 8X, respectively. Provided by Asset Insight, they depict (and project) the Maximum Maintenance Equity each jet has available based on its age.
• The Maximum Maintenance Equity figure was achieved the day an 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 of the Gulfstream G600 is 425 flight hours; average annual utilization of the Bombardier Global 6500 is 470 flight hours; and average annual utilization of the Dassault Falcon 8X is 475 flight hours; and
- All maintenance is completed when it’s due.
The Gulfstream G600 shows the highest average maximum maintenance equity at $9.8m. By comparison, the Bombardier Global 6500 shows an average maximum maintenance equity of $7.5m and the Dassault Falcon 8X has an average maximum maintenance equity of $4.3m.
Chart E - Gulfstream G600 Maintenance Equity Projection
Chart F - Bombardier Global 6500 Maintenance Equity Projection
Chart G - Dassault Falcon 8X Maintenance Equity Projection
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 are 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 may be able to deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft purchased and placed in service before January 1, 2023.
Beginning January 1, 2023, that deduction was reduced to 80%. Nevertheless, ‘Transportation Property’ described in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §168(k)(2)(B) and ‘Certain Aircraft’ described in IRC §168(k)(2)(C) will have a one-year delay in the phasedown. Thus, such property may still be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation if placed into service in 2023.
The points in Chart H 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:
Others may choose different parameters, but for the purpose of this comparison we will consider price, range, speed and cabin size.
Chart H - Gulfstream G600 vs Bombardier Global 6500 vs Dassault Falcon 8X Productivity Comparison
The Bombardier Global 6500 provides the highest payload with available fuel, slightly more cabin volume and narrowly beats the Gulfstream G600 to the longest range (with eight passengers and available fuel). The Global 6500 and G600 both offer a long-range cruise speed of 488kts, which is slightly more than the Dassault Falcon 8X.
While the Global 6500 has the lower acquisition cost (2022 model), it’s the Falcon 8X that provides the lowest per mile and hourly operating costs out of the competition.
Prospective buyers of Ultra-Long-Range & Large Cabin business jets would have to weigh the capabilities of each model very carefully against their specific mission need and budget to determine the best fit for their flight operation.
For example, in an arena where each jet exceeds 6,000nm and covers vast swathes of the world non-stop, the value a buyer places on additional extra range will be put to the test when viewed through the ‘cost per mile’ lens.
Given that flights can easily exceed 10 hours non-stop, passenger comfort is all-important for buyers of this category of aircraft, and beyond cabin volume, galley, lavatory, crew rest area, shower, sleeping configurations as well as cabin technology and cabin noise levels combine to promote a healthy work-rest balance. These are beyond the scope of this comparison but should be considered.
Additional considerations come into play as these jets build track records on the pre-owned market and patterns emerge as to how each model depreciates with age. Airport performance, terminal area performance, and time-to-climb may also factor heavily in a buying decision.
Ultimately, there is plenty for a prospective buyer to consider when deciding which performance criteria is better suited to them in an aircraft. These three business jets offer great value in the market today and are expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.