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Gulfstream G450
A comparison from the $31-41m price range.

In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we review a group of business jets in the $31-41m price-range for the purpose of valuing the new and pre-owned Gulfstream G450. Here- we’ll consider the productivity parameters - payload/range- speed and cabin size- and cover current and future market values.

The other aircraft in the comparative field are the Dassault Falcon 900EX EASy and the Bombardier Challenger 605. Interestingly- all three aircraft are currently still being manufactured. The Falcon 900EX (2003) and the G450 (2004) debuted on the market one year apart- while the Challenger 605 entered the market two years later in 2006.

BRIEF HISTORY
The Gulfstream G450 is a cross between the G400 and the G550- having been designed using the G400 airframe and the G550 nose section. It employs the Honeywell Primus Epic Plane View avionics suit and next generation Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8C engines. Flight-testing started in April 2003 and FAA certification was completed in August 2004.

PAYLOAD AND RANGE
The data contained in Table A is published in the B&CA- May 2010 issue- but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. As we mentioned in past articles- a potential operator should focus on payload capability. The Gulfstream G450’s ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 2-019 lbs is greater than that offered by the Challenger 605 (1-535 lbs)- but less than the Falcon 900EX EASy (2-800 lbs).

CABIN VOLUME
According to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the G450 (1-525 cubic feet) is the most generous offered by any of the aircraft in this month’s comparative field- see Chart A. By comparison- the Falcon 900EX EASy cabin volume measures 1-264 and the Challenger 605 1-150 cu ft.

POWERPLANT DETAILS
The Gulfstream G450 is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce TAY 611-8C engines - each offering 13-850 pounds of thrust. By comparison- the Challenger 605 aircraft has two General Electric CF34-3B engines offering 8-729 pounds of thrust each. The Dassault Falcon 900EX EASy is a tri-engine aircraft- each of its Honeywell TFE 731-60 powerplants offering 5-000 pounds of thrust.

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. Jet A fuel cost used from our source publications was $4.90 per gallon at press time for the August 2010 edition- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

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

COST PER MILE COMPARISONS
Chart B- which details ‘Cost per Mile’- compares the G450 to its competition factoring direct costs- and with all aircraft flying a 1-000nm mission with a 1-600 pound (eight passengers) payload. The G450 at $5.76 cost per mile is more expensive to operate per mile than either the Falcon 900EX EASy (lowest cost at $4.61) or the Challenger 605 ($4.90).

TOTAL VARIABLE COST COMPARISONS
The ‘Total Variable Cost’ - illustrated in Chart C- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense- and Miscellaneous Trip Expense. The total variable cost for the G450 at $2-505 is more than either the Falcon 900EX EASy ($1-980) or the Challenger 605 (lowest cost at $1-859).

PRODUCTIVITY COMPARISONS
The points in Chart D center on the same two aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA May 2010 Purchase Planning Handbook 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 G450- as shown in the productivity index Chart D- is very competitive when compared to the field- and has the greatest productive index value compared with the other aircraft in this field of comparison. Gulfstream entered the market one year later than Dassault- but leads a ‘combined field fleet’ of 397 aircraft with a 45% share- followed by the Falcon 900EX EASy at 28%- and the Challenger 605 at 27%. Over time- the G450 aircraft will create numerous sales opportunities in the pre-owned market for the savvy dealer/broker.

Table B contains the relative retail prices from B&CA magazine and from Vref for each aircraft. The number of aircraft in-operation and percentage ‘For Sale’ are sourced from JETNET.

LOCATION BY CONTINENT
The information displayed in Chart E is compiled from JETNET’s STAR Reporting system. The major based-at locations for the G450 are in North America (67%) and Asia (19%) where an aggregate 86% of the fleet resides.

AIRPORT PERFORMANCE
As an aside- airport performance for our comparative aircraft is illustrated in Table C. From those details- we can see that the G450’s take-off airport field length (TOFL)- Landing- and Balanced Field Length all fall between both the Falcon 900EX EASy and Challenger 605 aircraft.

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

We can safely conclude that the Gulfstream G450 aircraft fares well against its competition- so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the G450 aircraft will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market for many years to come.

For more information: Michael Chase is president of Chase & Associates- and can be contacted at 1628 Snowmass Place- Lewisville- TX75077; Tel: 214-226-9882; Web: www.mdchase.com


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