- 01 Jul 2020
- Mike Chase
- Jets Comparison
How do the Learjet 75 and the Gulfstream G100 compare side-by-side? What are the 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 Learjet 75 and Gulfstream G100 (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which Mid-size Jet provides the better value.
Does cabin size and speed drive a decision to buy an aircraft over acquiring one with greater range? It is hoped that the following jet comparison will help provide some answers.
Bombardier Learjet 75
FAA certification was received for the Bombardier Learjet 75 on November 14, 2013. The aircraft is the newest derivative of the popular Learjet 45. Compared to the Learjet 45XR, the Learjet 75 offers improved avionics, redesigned winglets (yielding better fuel efficiency), and upgraded engines.
A new Learjet 75 model is planned imminently, named the Learjet 75 Liberty. The Liberty is a lower-cost version of the Learjet 75, and is priced new at $9.9m (compared to a new Learjet 75 which costs $13.8m). The Liberty replaces two seats in the forward cabin with two-fold down ottomans and fold-out tables, thereby creating an "executive suite" and an aft club layout.
Other features that are standard on the Learjet 75 are options on the Learjet 75 Liberty, including the APU and external lights.
At the time of writing, there were 126 wholly-owned Learjet 75s in operation worldwide, an additional eight in fractional ownership, and one is in shared ownership, giving a total global fleet of 135 Learjet 75s.
At serial number 137, the Astra 1125 SPX was re-named the Gulfstream G100 after General Dynamics, parent company of Gulfstream Aerospace, acquired Galaxy Aerospace Company which completed and distributed the Astra 1125 SP and 1125 SPX.
The 1125 SPX was a continuation of the 1125 SP design (offering higher-powered engines and a modified wing and winglets that enabled it to fly faster, higher and farther than the 1125 SP).
As of this writing, there were 21 wholly owned Gulfstream G100 jets in operation worldwide. There were no G100 aircraft in shared or fractionally ownership. One jet has been retired. (For reference, there were an additional 57 Astra 1125 SPX aircraft still in operation, with two retired).
Payload & Range Comparison
When comparing aircraft, an important area for potential operators to focus on is payload capability, and especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’. Table A shows the Learjet 75 Available Payload with Maximum Fuel to be 1,638lbs, which is more than double the 800lbs offered by the Gulfstream G100.
TABLE A: Bombardier Learjet 75 vs Gulfstream G100 Payload Comparison
Chart A depicts that while the cabin width of the Learjet 75 is greater than the G100 (5.12ft vs 4.75ft), the cabin height is less (4.92ft vs 5.60ft). Overall, the Learjet 75 provides more cabin volume (415cu.ft) than the Gulfstream G100 (304cu.ft), thanks to its cabin length being longer (19.75ft vs 17.1ft).
CHART A: Bombardier Learjet 75 vs Gulfstream G100 Cabin Comparison
Typical executive seating for the Learjet 75 is for eight seats, though the aircraft is certified for up to nine seats. By comparison, the typical executive seating for the Gulfstream G100 is seven, but the aircraft is certified for up to nine seats.
In terms of baggage provision, while the Learjet 75 provides more internal luggage volume (15cu.ft) than the Gulfstream G100 (9cu.ft), it offers less external luggage volume (50cu.ft vs 55cu.ft).
As depicted in Chart B, using Wichita, Kansas as the start point, the Gulfstream G100 offers greater range coverage (2,790nm) than the Learjet 75 (2,058nm), assuming each aircraft is flying with four passengers and available fuel. This range comparison demonstrates a crucial consideration for operators choosing which jet will fit the majority of their specific mission requirements best.
CHART B: Bombardier Learjet 75 vs Gulfstream G100 Range Comparison
Meanwhile, the certified ceiling for the Learjet 75 is 51,000ft compared to the Gulfstream G100 at 45,000ft.
Note: For business jets, ‘Four Pax Range’ represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at long range cruise. NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation is for a 200nm alternate. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
Two Honeywell TFE 731-40BR engines power the Learjet 75, providing 3,850lbst each and burning 176 gallons of fuel per hour (gph). Similarly, two Honeywell TFE 731-40R engines power the Gulfstream G100, each providing more thrust (4,250lbst) while burning slightly more fuel (186gph).
Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Variable Cost’, illustrated in Chart C is defined as the estimated cost of fuel expense, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense, and miscellaneous trip expense (hangar, crew, catering, etc.).
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 jets provide almost the same variable costs at $2,182 per hour (Learjet 75) and $2,192 (G100).
CHART C: Bombardier Learjet 75 vs Gulfstream G100 Operating Cost Comparison
Market Comparison Table
Table B contains the prices (per Aircraft Bluebook) for the Learjet 75 which range from $4.5m to $13.8m, and the Gulfstream G100 prices (which range from $1.4m to $2.4m). The long-range cruise speed and range numbers are from B&CA, while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale, and average sold are from JETNET.
TABLE B: Bombardier Learjet 75 vs Gulfstream G100 Market Comparison
The Learjet 75 had 10 aircraft for sale on the used aircraft market at the time of writing (7.4% of the fleet), while four Gulfstream G100s were for sale on the used market, representing 19.1% of the fleet for sale. The average number of used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months for the Learjet 75 is two, while the Gulfstream G100 is less than one per month.
Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
Charts D and E display the Learjet 75 and Gulfstream G100 respectively. They depict (and project) the Maximum Maintenance Equity each jet has available, based on its age.
CHART D: Bombardier Learjet 75 Maintenance Equity Trend
CHART E: Gulfstream G100 Maintenance Equity Trend
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 (see Table C).
TABLE C: Tax Depreciation Schedule for Business Aircraft
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favourable 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 (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 after September 27, 2017 and placed in service before January 1, 2023.
This 100% expensing provision is a huge bonus for aircraft owners and operators. After December 31, 2022 the Act decreases the percentage available each year by 20% to depreciate qualified business jets until December 31, 2026.
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2013 model Learjet 75 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
TABLE D: Bombardier Learjet 75 Sample Tax Depreciation Schedule
Table E depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2006 model Gulfstream G100 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
TABLE E: Gulfstream G100 Sample Tax Depreciation Schedule
Asking Prices & Quantity
The ten Learjet 75s available on the used aircraft market at the time of writing showed asking prices for two aircraft of $4.795m and $5.995m. By comparison, two Gulfstream G100 jets for sale showed asking prices of $1.8m and $1.95m.
While each 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.
The points in Chart F are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in Aircraft Bluebook. 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:
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin size.
The calculated productivity index for the Learjet 75 is 0.373 and the Gulfstream G100 is 0.365, thus reflecting very little difference between the models.
CHART F: Bombardier Learjet 75 vs Gulfstream G100 Productivity Comparison
Larger Cabin & More Speed vs Longer Range?
The Learjet 75 offers a larger cabin volume and greater speed. It also comes at a higher purchase price – though it is a newer model than the G100. Moreover, the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ of the Learjet 75 is double that of the Gulfstream G100.
Nevertheless, both business jets have almost the same variable cost, and the key advantage the G100 offers over the Learjet 75 is its significantly longer range. Although the Gulfstream G100 is no longer in production, the used market may provide an even lower price point for those willing to operate an older aircraft with similar productivity rating.
The question for buyers in today’s marketplace is which combined elements of a jet are more important to their mission needs: Cabin size, speed, range, or other factors? Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business jet operators value. There are other qualities such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb that might factor in a buying decision, however.
Operators should weigh up their mission requirements precisely when picking which option is the best for them. Ultimately, there is plenty for a prospective buyer to consider when deciding over which performance criteria is better suited to them in an aircraft. Both business jets continue to offer great value in the Medium Jet market today.