- 01 May 2020
- Mike Chase
- Jets Comparison
What are the pros and cons of the Gulfstream G550 compared to Bombardier’s Global 6000 and Dassault’s Falcon 8X Ultra-Long-Range aircraft? Find out more in the following Jet Comparison…Back to Articles
Over the following paragraphs, we’ll consider productivity parameters (payload, range, speed and cabin size) and cover the current and future market values of the Gulfstream G550, Bombardier Global 6000 and Dassault Falcon 8X.
These aircraft are popular members of the Ultra-Long-Range & Large Cabin business jet segment, which comprises more than 2,000 aircraft in operation today.
The Gulfstream G550 traces its roots to the Gulfstream GV – the first Ultra- Long-Range & Large Cabin business jet produced, which started delivering in 1995. Most notable about the GV was its 6,500nm range that allowed non-stop flight between New York and Tokyo. Two new aircraft followed the GV, one of which was the Gulfstream G550 in 2003.
The G550 relinquished its title as the top-end of Gulfstream’s in-service product line when G650 deliveries began. Nevertheless, the G550 has proved to be an exceptionally popular jet. At the end of 2019, the company announced delivery of the 600th G550, and at the time of writing there were 576 wholly-owned units in operation worldwide. Including those in shared and fractional ownership the total Gulfstream G550 fleet numbers 590.
By continent, North America is home to the largest fleet percentage (65%), followed by Asia (19%) and Europe (11%), accounting for a combined 95% of the fleet.
Bombardier Global 6000
The Bombardier Global 6000 derives from the Bombardier Global Express XRS, and started delivering to the market in 2012. One of the biggest differences between the Global XRS and the Global 6000 is the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite installed on the flight deck.
At the time of writing there are 297 wholly-owned Global 6000s in operation worldwide. Including those in shared and fractional ownership, the total stands at 325. Europe is home to the largest Global 6000 fleet percentage, accounting for 38%, followed by North America (33%) and Asia (23%), giving a combined total of 94% of the world’s fleet, according to JETNET.
Dassault Falcon 8X
Dassault’s Falcon 8X tri-jet first entered service in October 2016. It offers 500nm more range than the Falcon 7X it replaced as Dassault’s flagship business jet, gained from an additional center-fuselage fuel tank and a lighter, redesigned wing. The reworked wing also keeps the 8X competitive on short runways.
To date, there are 59 Falcon 8Xs in operation, of which all are wholly owned. As of April 2020, Europe accounted for the largest Falcon 8X fleet percentage (58%), followed by North America (21%) and Asia (12%) – a combined 91% of the world’s total fleet.
Payload & Range Comparison
The data contained in Table A are published in B&CA, June 2019 issue. As we have mentioned in previous articles, a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor.
TABLE A - Gulfstream G550 vs Global 6000 vs Falcon 8X Payload Comparison
As such, the Gulfstream G550’s ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ (1,760lbs) is greater than what is offered by the Dassault Falcon 8X (1,259lbs), but is less than the Bombardier Global 6000’s 2,470lbs.
Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Chart A depicts the cabin cross-sections of the jets in our comparative field. The Global 6000 has more cabin height (6.25ft) and width (8.17ft) compared to the other two aircraft. Overall, the Bombardier Global 6000 provides more cabin volume (at 2,002cu.ft.), even though its cabin is slightly shorter than the other two jets. By comparison the Gulfstream G550 provides 1,812cu.ft. cabin volume and the Falcon 8X 1,695cu.ft.
CHART A - Gulfstream G550 vs Global 6000 vs Falcon 8X Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
In terms of baggage provision, the Global 6000 also provides the greatest internal luggage volume at 195cu.ft. By comparison, the G550 has 170cu.ft volume, and the Falcon 8X has 140cu.ft. There is no external baggage volume available on the three business jets in this study.
As depicted by Chart B, using Van Nuys, California as the origin point, the G550 shows more range coverage than the Global 6000 and the Falcon 8X.
CHART B - Gulfstream G550 vs Global 6000 vs Falcon 8X Range Comparison
Note: For business jets, ‘Eight Passengers With available fuel’ represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at Long-Range Cruise with eight passenger seats occupied. NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation for a 200nm alternate. The lines depicted do not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
Gulfstream’s G550 is powered by two Rolls- Royce BR710-C4-11 engines, each with a thrust rating of 15,385lbs. Bombardier’s Global 6000 also utilizes Rolls-Royce powerplants – in this case a pair of 14,750lbst BR710-A2-20 engines. Dassault’s Falcon 8X uses three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines, each offering 6,722lbst.
Total Variable Cost Comparison
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.
CHART C - Gulfstream G550 vs Global 6000 vs Falcon 8X Variable Cost Comparison
The total variable cost for the G550 equates as $3,863 per hour, which is 5.3% more expensive than the Falcon 8X at $3,667 per hour. The Global 6000 shows the highest variable cost, at $4,344 per hour, as reported by JETNET.
Market Comparison Table
Table B contains the prices for a 2019 model Gulfstream G550, Global 6000 and Falcon 8X, along with the long-range cruise speed and range numbers (all sourced from B&CA). The cabin volumes are from Conklin & de Decker, while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale, and average sold are from JETNET.
TABLE B - Gulfstream G550 vs Global 6000 vs Falcon 8X Market Comparison
As of this writing, the Gulfstream G550 had 7.1% of its fleet for sale, compared to 6.8% for the Global 6000 and 3.5% for the Falcon 8X. The average number of new and used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months for the Gulfstream G550 is seven, compared to five for the Global 6000 and one for the Falcon 8X.
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 accelerate the 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 favourable 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 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 (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 a given year.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019 model Gulfstream G550 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods, assuming a used retail value of $61.5m, per B&CA.
TABLE C - Sample Gulfstream G550 MACRS Depreciation Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019-model Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods, assuming a used retail value of $62.31m, per B&CA.
TABLE D - Sample Bombardier Global 6000 MACRS Schedule
Table E depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2019 model Dassault Falcon 8X in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods, assuming a used retail value of $59.3m, per B&CA.
TABLE E - Sample Dassault Falcon 8X MACRS Schedule
The points in Chart D are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in B&CA. 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. After consideration of the price, range, speed and cabin size, we can conclude that all three business jets display a high level of productivity in their field.
CHART D - Gulfstream G550 vs Global 6000 vs Falcon 8X Productivity Comparison
The G550 has the greatest range of the three-candidate aircraft in this study. However, the Gulfstream G550 price and variable cost per hour are between the two competitors.
For the lowest price and variable cost, operators should consider the Falcon 8X, whereas if they value more cabin space and/or long-range cruise speed, the Global 6000 is the better option.
The preceding paragraphs 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, however.
The Gulfstream G550 continues to be very popular today and has delivered the most business jets in its class for good reason. Operators in the market should find the preceding comparison useful.
Our expectations are that the Gulfstream G550, which started delivering in 2003 and has now been replaced by the G600 model on Gulfstream’s production line, will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market for the foreseeable future.