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In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we’ll provide information on a selection of new and preowned business jets in the $14m-$19.5m range for the purpose of valuing Bombardier’s Challenger 300 aircraft. The current New/Used percentage split for the Challenger 300 aircraft is 48% new- and 52% pre-owned according to JETNET records.

Within the scope of this article- we will consider the usual productivity parameters - payload/range- speed and cabin size - and cover current and future market values. The field in this study includes Gulfstream’s G200 and Dassault’s Falcon 2000.

BRIEF HISTORY
The Challenger 300 - formerly known as the Bombardier Continental - is a new-generation aircraft designed to deliver excellent value in the super mid-size business jet category. It offers transcontinental range and long-range cruise speed without sacrificing airfield performance- an eight-passenger cabin and operating costs equivalent to- or better than current mid-size jets.

The Challenger 300 cabin has been designed to provide a highly productive working environment for travelers on a non-stop 3-100nm mission (with a load of eight passengers and NBAA IFR reserves). FAA type certification was received in June 2003- with entry into corporate service soon after. This aircraft is RVSM certified from the manufacturer.

MARKET SHARE
As Chart A (overleaf) represents- the Market Delivery percentage share in November 2010 has the Challenger 300 at 38% and both the G200 and Falcon 2000 at 31%. There are currently 744 total aircraft in operation for these three models.

The data contained in Table A (middle- left) is published in the Business & Commercial Aviation (B&CA) May 2010 issue- and is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. As mentioned in past articles- a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor.

The Challenger 300’s ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 1-255 lbs is considerably more than that of the Gulfstream G200 (650 lbs) and the Falcon 2000 (1-095 lbs) aircraft.

CABIN VOLUME
According to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the Challenger 300 at 860 cubic feet is almost the same as the Gulfstream G200 (868 cu ft). However- both of these aircraft offer less cabin volume than the Falcon 2000 (1-024 cu ft) - see Chart B (bottom- left).

POWERPLANT DETAILS
Powered by two Honeywell HTF7000 engines- the Challenger 300 powerplants each offer 6-826 lbst. The G200 is powered by a pair of P&W Canada PW306A engines- but with less thrust at 6-040 lbst- and the Falcon 2000 has two CFE 738-1-1B engines with even less thrust at 5-918 lbst each.

COST PER MILE COMPARISONS
Using data published in the May 2010 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2010 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our aircraft. The nationwide average Jet A fuel cost used from the August 2010 edition was $4.90 per gallon at press time- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

Note: Fuel price used from this source does not represent an average price for the year.

Chart C (top- right) details ‘Cost per Mile’- and compares the Challenger 300 to the field factoring direct costs- and with each aircraft flying a 1-000nm mission with an 800 pound (four passengers) payload. The Challenger 300 at $3.93 cost per mile is lower than the G200 at $4.04 and the Falcon 2000 at $5.55 cost per mile.

TOTAL VARIABLE COST COMPARISONS
The ‘Total Variable Cost’- illustrated in Chart D (right)- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense- and Miscellaneous Trip Expense. The total variable cost for the Challenger 300 at $1-707 is less than the Falcon 2000 at $2-378- but more expensive than the G200 at $1-661.

PRODUCTIVITY COMPARISONS
The points in Chart E (right) center on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA August 2010 Operations Planning Guide. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary.

Productivity can be (and it is here) defined 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 Challenger 300- as shown in productivity index Chart E- is highly productive.

The overall price of the Challenger 300 is more expensive than the rest of the field. Although the Challenger 300 offers less cabin volume- it is less expensive to operate on a cost per mile basis- and on a variable cost basis falls between its competitors in this field of study.

Table B (right) contains the average equipped prices from B&CA magazine for each aircraft. The average speed- cabin volume and maximum payload values are from Conklin and de Decker. The number of aircraft in-operation and percentage ‘For Sale’ are reported by JETNET.

AIRPORT PERFORMANCE
The airport performance illustrated in Table C (overleaf) includes airport Take-Off Field Length (TOFL)- Landing- and Balanced Field Length. As shown- the Challenger 300 has the shortest numbers in each of these airport performance criteria compared to the rest of the field in this study.

SUMMARY
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are other qualities such as terminal area performance- time to climb performance- and maximum transition to altitude levels that might factor in a buying decision- too- however.

Essentially- the Challenger 300 fares well among its competition- so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the Challenger 300 aircraft will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market. 

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.com


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