In this month’s Jets Comparison, Mike Chase compares Dassault’s Falcon 8X Ultra-Long-Range business jet against Bombardier’s Global 5000. What are the areas each jet excels in…?
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider various key productivity parameters including payload, range, speed and cabin size. Current market values will also be discussed.
Which is the better option for a buyer in the market for an Ultra-Long-Range jet: Speed or range? This is one of the questions that will be considered in the following comparison…
About the Competitors…
The Dassault Falcon 8X entered service in October 2016. It was built with an extra 500nm range over the Falcon 7X. That range increase was enabled via an additional center-fuselage fuel tank and a lighter, re-designed wing.
The re-worked wing also keeps the Falcon 8X competitive on short runways. It needs 6,000 feet to take off fully loaded but can stop in 2,150 feet. Three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines power this aircraft.
As of this writing, there were 44 Falcon 8X business jets in operation, all of which were wholly-owned. In March 2019, Europe had the largest Falcon 8X fleet percentage (56%), followed by North America and Asia (19% each). Together, they accounted for a combined 93% of the total fleet.
The Bombardier Global 5000 has been in production since 2005 and also offers the advantage of having short take-off and landing performance.
Powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce BR710-A2-20 turbofan engines, it has a high-speed cruise of 499 knots, and its takeoff range is exceptionally short. Loaded to its maximum take-off weight, it can take off in around 5,000ft.
There were 229 Global 5000 business jets in operation at the time of writing, 215 of which were wholly-owned. One was in shared ownership and 13 in fractional ownership programs. North America was home to the largest Global 5000 fleet percentage (47%) in March 2019, followed by Asia (26%) and then Europe (23%), accounting for a combined 96% of the total fleet.
Payload & Range Comparison
As we have established previously, a potential operator should focus on a jet’s payload capability as a key factor in selecting the right aircraft for their need. Table A shows the Dassault Falcon 8X’s ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ is 1,259lbs., which is less than half of the 2,930lbs. offered by Bombardier’s Global 5000.
Table A: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Payload & Range Comparison
Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Chart A, meanwhile, shows a cabin cross-section comparison of the Falcon 8X and Global 5000, courtesy of UPCAST JETBOOK. As shown, the Global 5000 has more cabin height and width compared to the Falcon 8X.
Chart A: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Not depicted, though, the Falcon 8X has a slightly longer cabin length (42.7ft) compared to the Global 5000 (42.47ft). However, the overall cabin volume of the Global 5000 is greater (1,889cu.ft) compared to the Falcon 8X (1,695cu.ft).
The Falcon 8X and the Global 5000 do not offer external baggage storage capacity, but both offer plentiful internal baggage storage with the Global 5000 having 195cu.ft and the Falcon 8X offering 140cu.ft.
Represented in Chart B, using Teterboro, New Jersey as the origin point, the Falcon 8X shows considerably greater range coverage than the Global 5000 at 6,630nm versus 5,350nm, with both jets carrying four passengers.
Chart B: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Range Comparison
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.
Dassault’s Falcon 8X is powered by three Pratt & Whitney PW307D powerplants, each offering 6,725lbst. The two Rolls-Royce BR710-A2-70 engines on the Bombardier Global 5000 each offer 14,750lbst.
Cost Per Mile Comparison
Chart C details ‘Cost per Mile’ for our comparative jets (per JETNET), factoring direct costs (no depreciation) and with each aircraft flying a 1,000nm mission with an 800lbs (four passengers) payload. The average US Jet-A fuel cost used for March 2019 was $4.92 per gallon.
Chart C: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Cost Per Mile Comparison
The Falcon 8X shows a lower cost per nautical mile at $9.19 compared to $10.25 for the Global 5000. That’s a difference of 11.5% in cost per mile.
Total Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Total Variable Cost’ illustrated in Chart D (sourced from JETNET), is defined as the cost of fuel expense, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense and miscellaneous trip expense (hangar, crew and catering). The Total Variable Cost for the Falcon 8X computes at $3,514/hour compared to the Global 5000 at $3,984/hour.
Chart D: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Variable Cost Comparison
Aircraft Comparison Table
Table C contains the new prices (per Vref) for the Falcon 8X and Global 5000, while the long-range cruise speed, cabin volumes and ranges are from Conklin & De Decker, and the number of aircraft in-operation, percentage ‘For Sale’ and average sold are as reported by JETNET.
Table B: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Aircraft Comparison Table
The Falcon 8X had 4.6% of its fleet for sale as of the end of March 2019, while the Global 5000 had 12.2% for sale. The average number of new and used transactions (sold) per month stood at one unit for the Falcon 8X and three for the Global 5000 over the previous 12 months.
Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
Chart E depicts and also projects the Maximum Maintenance Equity available for the Falcon 8X, based on an aircraft’s age over a 16-year period.
The Maximum Maintenance Equity figure is achieved the day the aircraft leaves the production line (since it has 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 an average annual utilization of 475 flight hours, and that all maintenance is completed when due.
Chart E: Dassault Falcon 8X Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
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: MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS) where depreciation is 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 six-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 new Act, taxpayers may be able to deduct up to 100 percent 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 2019 model new Dassault Falcon 8X in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
Table D: Sample MACRS Depreciation Schedule for 2019 Model Dassault Falcon 8X
Table E, meanwhile, depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019 model new Bombardier Global 5000 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
Table E: Sample MACRS Depreciation Schedule for 2019 Model Bombardier Global 5000
Asking Prices & Quantity
The current used market for the Falcon 8X aircraft showed a total of two jets for Sale at the time of writing, both with invitations for buyers to make an offer. For the Global 5000, a total of 28 aircraft were listed for sale, eight of which displayed asking prices that ranged between $13m and $31.995m.
While each serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variations in price. Of course, 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 vertical axis is as published in the Vref Pricing Guide. 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:
- Four Passenger Range (nm) with available fuel;
- The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
- The gross cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed and cabin size.
Chart F: Dassault Falcon 8X vs Bombardier Global 5000 Productivity Comparison
In summary, the Falcon 8X demonstrates a higher level of productivity at a higher price (purchased new). The Falcon 8X has a lower cost per mile and variable cost per hour than the Global 5000, and it also offers much greater range than the Global 5000.
In the favor of the Global 5000, Bombardier’s jet offers greater cabin volume, and the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ is much greater than that of to the Falcon 8X.
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are other qualities such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time to climb that might factor in a buying decision. Ultimately, operators should weigh up their mission requirements precisely when picking which option is the best for them.
Both jets in our study show similar levels of productivity. Of course, there are other differences for a buyer to consider when making a choice between the two, but it really depends on budget constraints and mission needs.