How do the Gulfstream G500, Bombardier Global 5000 and Dassault Falcon 7X compare? Mike Chase analyses the performance of these three Ultra-Long-Range business jet competitors…
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider key productivity parameters (including payload, range, speed and cabin size). In a direct comparison, which jet has the highest speed? Is aircraft speed the next paradigm shift? We’ll consider the answer and assess the pros and cons of each model.
Making its service entry in 2018, the Gulfstream G500 replaces the G450 in Gulfstream’s product line. According to Gulfstream, the G500 has a top speed of 0.925 Mach and is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engines, each producing 15,144lbst.
The new jet can reach a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet and becomes the first non-military aircraft to be equipped with active side-stick control technology.
Bombardier Global 5000
The Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft made its entry into service in 2005 but traces its roots to the Global Express which was the second Ultra-Long-Range & Large-Cabin business jet to be produced. The Global 5000 offers operators the advantage of a comparably short take-off and landing performance.
Dassault Falcon 7X
Dassault’s Falcon 7X has been in service since 2007, and became the first fully fly-by-wire business jet, giving pilots greater control by limiting the pitch of the aircraft. It’s equipped with the same Honeywell Primus EPIC EASy avionics used on the Falcon 900EX and 2000EX.
Everything can be monitored and adjusted by the LCD displays, eliminating circuit breakers and panels and increasing the reliability of the Falcon 7X. Meanwhile, a completely new wing design helped ensure the long range offered by this jet.
Payload & Range Comparison
A potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor when selecting the right aircraft for their need.
Table A shows the Bombardier Global 5000’s Available Payload with Maximum Fuel (2,930lbs) to be slightly greater than the 2,900lbs offered by the Gulfstream G500. The Dassault Falcon 7X has the lowest Available Payload with Maximum Fuel (1,660lbs).
TABLE A: Gulfstream G500 vs Bombardier Global 5000 vs Dassault Falcon 7X Payload Comparisons
Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Chart A depicts the cabin cross-sections of the Gulfstream G500, Bombardier Global 5000 and Dassault Falcon 7X. As shown, all three jets have the same cabin height (6.2ft) but with different cabin width. The G500 has the smallest cabin width (7.6ft) compared to the Global 5000 (7.9ft) and Falcon 7X (7.7ft).
CHART A: Gulfstream G500 vs Bombardier Global 5000 vs Dassault Falcon 7X Cabin Comparison
Not depicted on the chart, the G500 has greater cabin length (41.5ft) compared to the Global 5000 (40.7ft) and the Falcon 7X (39.1ft). Overall, the Bombardier Global 5000 provides the greater cabin volume at 1,889cu.ft. compared to the Gulfstream G500 (1,715cu.ft.) and Falcon 7X (1,506cu.ft.).
Moreover, the Bombardier Global 5000 provides a generous 195cu.ft. internal baggage space. By comparison, the Gulfstream G500 offers 175cu.ft. and the Falcon 7X 140cu.ft. internal luggage room.
As depicted in Chart B using Dallas, Texas, as the origin point, the Falcon 7X shows more range coverage (5,760nm) than either the Global 5000 (5,475nm) or the Gulfstream G500 (5,292nm), carrying four passengers.
CHART B: Gulfstream G500 vs Bombardier Global 5000 vs Dassault Falcon 7X Range Comparison
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 PW814GA engines power the Gulfstream G500 each offering 15,144lbst, and using 363 gallons per hour (gph). The Global 5000, meanwhile, is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710-A2-20 engines, each offering 14,750lbst and burning 455gph. The Falcon 7X uses three PW307A engines, each offering 6,402lbst and burning 323gph.
Total Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Total Variable Cost’, sourced from AirPower Software Group, see Chart C, is defined as the estimated cost of fuel expense, airframe system parts and labor, engine and APU reserves, and avionics protection programs.
CHART C: Gulfstream G500 vs Bombardier Global 5000 vs Dassault Falcon 7X Variable Costs
These costs do not represent a direct source into every flight department and their trip support expenses. The methodology employed by AirPower to arrive at its cost values are most applicable as budgetary planning estimates only. Thus, for comparative purposes the costs presented are the relative differences, not the actual differences, as these may vary from flight department to flight department.
The Falcon 7X has the lowest variable cost ($2,901/hr) compared to the Global 5000 ($3,197/hr) and Gulfstream G500 ($3,423/hr). The Falcon 7X variable cost is 10.2% and 18% lower compared to the Global 5000 and Gulfstream G500, respectively.
Note: All platforms are in production so variable cost is lower due to warranty offsets.
Dassault Falcon 7X
Aircraft Comparison Table
Table B contains new prices (per Vref) for a 2019 model Gulfstream G500, Bombardier Global 5000 and Dassault Falcon 7X. The long-range cruise speed and range numbers are from B&CA, the cabin volumes are from each OEM, and the number of aircraft in-operation, percentage for sale, and average sold are from JETNET.
TABLE B: Gulfstream G500 vs Bombardier Global 5000 vs Dassault Falcon 7X Market Comparison
The Gulfstream G500 had just 4.4% and Falcon 7X had 6.3% of its fleet for sale traditionally defining them as seller’s markets. By contrast, the Global 5000 has 12.1% of the fleet for sale, making it a traditional buyer’s market.
The average number of new and used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months for the Gulfstream G500 is two, for the Global 5000 is three, and for the Falcon 7X is five.
Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
Charts D, E and F display the Gulfstream G500, Bombardier Global 5000 and Falcon 7X respectively, depicting (and projecting) 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 420 flight hours (in the case of the Gulfstream G500), 470 flight hours (in the case of the Global 5000); and 475 flight hours (in the case of the Falcon 7X).
- That all maintenance is completed when due.
CHART D: Gulfstream G500 Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
CHART E: Bombardier Global 5000 Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
CHART F: Dassault Falcon 7X 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.
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.
Bombardier Global 5000
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 C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019-model Gulfstream G500 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
TABLE C: Gulfstream G500 Sample MACRS Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019-model Bombardier Global 5000 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
TABLE D: Bombardier Global 5000 Sample MACRS Schedule
Table E depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019-model Dassault Falcon 7X in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
TABLE E: Dassault Falcon 7X Sample MACRS Schedule
Asking Prices & Quantity
As of September 2019, two Gulfstream G500 business jets were available on the used aircraft market with one displaying an asking price of $48.995m and the other inviting offers. By comparison, 24 Global 5000s were for sale. Seven showed asking prices ranging between $13.499m and $23.9m. Of seventeen Falcon 7Xs for sale, five showed an asking price ranging from $18.495m to $31.250m.
While each serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition of an aircraft will cause great variation in the price of a specific aircraft – even between two aircraft from the same year of manufacture. The sale price must be negotiated between the seller and buyer.
Future Residual Value Retention
How well will the values hold for each model? According to Asset Insight, the value of a Bombardier Global 5000 will decline from 54% to 30.4% over the next five years, and the Dassault Falcon 7X value will deteriorate from 51% to 33% over the same timeframe.
Details for the Gulfstream G500 are not discussed because the model has not been in operation for five years and there is not enough data to support an informed forecast.
The points in Chart G are centered on the Gulfstream G500, Bombardier Global 5000 and Dassault Falcon 7X. For added measure, we include the new Gulfstream G600, too. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the Vref Pricing Guide for a 2019 model.
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 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 G: Gulfstream G500 vs Bombardier Global 5000 vs Dassault Falcon 7X Productivity Comparison
A 2019-model new Gulfstream G500 can be purchased at lower price (~$47m) than at a 2019-model Global G5000 (~$50m) or 2019-model Falcon 7X (~$54m). However, it comes with the highest hourly variable operating costs. In its favor the G500 has a higher long-range cruise speed (488kts) compared to the rest of the field. Another key feature is the Symmetry Cockpit, introduced in 2018 when the G500 entered service.
The Global 5000 offers the largest cabin volume (1,889cu.ft.) and highest ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 2,930lbs. However, it entered service in 2005 and has older avionics technology installed.
Having entered service in 2007, the Falcon 7X exhibits the highest new purchase price, but also the lowest hourly variable operating cost. It also provides the longest range (5,760nm) compared to the other study aircraft.
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. Is the longest range the most important criteria? Or is speed or cabin comfort a winning factor? Ultimately, there’s plenty for a prospective buyer to consider when deciding which aircraft is better suited to them.