New technologies and innovation continue driving forward product development.
By René Armas Maes
Large business jets offer more cabin space and ranges of up to 8000 nm. This combination allows passengers to fly long distances non-stop in comfort and style.
For the past several years, bizjet OEMs have been shaping the business aviation flight experience with large galleys and the addition of lavatories, multiple living spaces, and even stand-up showers.
Based on maximum range capabilities, and for comparison purposes, we have broken down the large jet segment into 3 cabin categories: Large, super large, and ultra large.
Large cabin category
Bombardier Challenger 650 is powered by 2 General Electric CF34-3B MTO engines with 9220 lb of thrust each. Its low swept wings with winglets give it a sound ramp look. Its cabin has a volume of 1146 cu ft and seats up to 10 passengers.
The Challenger 650’s flight deck is based on the Collins Aerospace Pro Line 21 Advanced suite, and shares much of the same capabilities found in larger Bombardier Global jets. The Challenger 650 is delivered with ADS-B Out, FANS 1/A+ (CPDLC + ADS-C), and RNP AR 0.3.
Citation Longitude. Textron Aviation’s flagship has a maximum range of 3500 nm with maximum speed of 476 kt. Its 6-ft-tall cabin also provides ample legroom, low sound levels, and cutting-edge technology to manage the inflight entertainment (IFE) system and environment from any mobile device.
Cabin altitude is 5950 ft. In the cockpit, the Longitude features the latest evolution of the Garmin G5000 flight deck. It received FAA certification in September 2019, and has a ceiling of 45,000 ft.
Dassault Falcon 2000LXS. A lighter variant of the 4000-nm 2000LX, the LXS boasts the same range as its predecessor, although with shorter runway requirements and a 3-screen EASy II cockpit based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic. It is powered by 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW308C engines with new Talon II combustors, which produce 20% lower emissions without any penalty in power.
Embraer Praetor 600 was developed from the Legacy 500, upgraded with 2 additional underbelly fuel tanks and larger winglets increasing the range by 25%.
It has a maximum cabin altitude of 5800 ft, with 100% fresh air with HEPA filters now standard on all Praetor jets. It has a standard 2-zone aft cabin with seating for up to 12 passengers.
The Praetor 600 is powered by 2 Honeywell HTF7500E engines generating 7528 lb of thrust each. Range with 4 passengers is 4018 nm.
The cockpit is equipped with the Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck, including synthetic vision, enhanced vision, and head-up display (HUD).
Full fly-by-wire (FBW) with sidestick controls reduce pilot workload and provide easier maintenance.
Super large cabin category
Gulfstream G600 is an all-new clean sheet design with a new cabin cross section, along with a new wing and the P&WC PurePower engines that push the aircraft further on less fuel.
Its airframe is similar to that of the G500 and G650, with a wingspan 8 ft wider than that of the G500, allowing for 10,000 lb of additional fuel.
Capable of carrying up to 19 passengers, the G600 is powered by 2 P&WC PW815GA engines generating 15,680 lb of thrust apiece, delivering a high-speed cruise of M0.90 and a max range of 6500 nm with 8 passengers, including 4 crew.
At its high-speed cruise of 600 kt, the G600 travels 5500 nm. Maximum operating speed is 616 kt. In the cockpit, the G600 features Gulfstream’s Symmetry Flight Deck, which includes active control sidesticks and 10 touchscreens. Its cabin can be configured for 3 living areas and crew rest, and has industry-leading cabin sound levels, a low cabin altitude, and 100% fresh air, which reduces fatigue and jet lag.
Bombardier Global 6500 received type certification in late 2019, and features an optimized wing design, along with new Rolls-Royce Pearl engines. These enhancements result in lower fuel consumption and an addition in range of 600 nm, for a total NBAA 8-pax IFR range of 6600 nm.
In addition, the new wing and engines on the Global 6500 gain the aircraft greater access with enhanced hot-and-high performance. Cabin configurations are plentiful in the Global 6500, with a 3-zone cabin, full-size galley, and dedicated crew suite.
Standard configurations include an aft stateroom, 4-place dining group, and 4-place double club seating, and a forward and aft lavatory. With the largest cabin in its class, the Global 6500 offers the Nuage seats, which were developed for the larger-cabin Global 7500.
Ultra large cabin category
Bombardier Global 7500 features a spacious cabin that can accommodate up to 19 passengers and is illuminated naturally with expanded windows. It has space for 4 living areas, a master suite, dedicated crew suite, and even a full-size kitchen.
The cabin also features a touch management system, which is designed solely for the Global 7500 to dial up the experience inside the cabin. Its ergonomic Nuage passenger seats add the comfort of luxury home seating to the flight experience.
The most updated Bombardier Vision flight deck features synthetic vision system (SVS) imagery on a HUD. The cockpit also boasts 4 screens and enhanced flight vision system (EFVS). It also features an onboard maintenance system (OMS) to provide improved dispatch reliability and ease of database loading, datalink, high-speed satellite communications system, and controller-pilot data link communication (CPDLC).
Dassault Falcon 6X offers an 8 ft 6 in wide cabin with an altitude of 3900 ft at 41,000 ft. The Falcon 6X will incorporate smart-control mood lighting that adjusts depending on the type of activity, time of day, and season in order to enhance productivity, relaxation, and sleep as necessary.
It will come equipped with Honeywell’s Primus EASy III avionics suite, with FalconEye EFVS and SVS on the HUD. Crew comfort is maximized with sidestick controls and 130-degree reclining seats. It is powered by 2 PW812D engines generating 14,000 lb of thrust each.
Dassault Falcon 10X promises a range of 7500 nm and a top speed of M 0.925. It will be powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Pearl engines that improve fuel efficiency by 5% while lowering carbon emissions and noise footprint. Cabin pressure will remain at 3000 ft at FL410.
With passenger comfort in mind, its quiet cabin stands at 6 ft 8 in tall and spans 9 ft 1in, and can be divided into 4 lounge areas.
Gulfstream G400 will be powered by a pair of PW812GA engines, capable of flying 4200 nm non-stop, and with a max speed of M 0.90.
For the pilots, it will sport Gulfstream’s Symmetry Flight Deck. In addition, the manufacturer claims that it will offer the largest cabin in its class, seating up to 12 passengers, along with the lowest cabin altitude in class – 3255 ft at FL410.
Gulfstream G800 is due to enter service in 2023. Two Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines will push its range to 8000 nm at M 0.85, or 7000 nm at M 0.90. The cockpit will be fitted with Gulfstream’s Symmetry Flight Deck, with dual HUDs and active control sidesticks. The cabin is designed to seat up to 19 passengers and can comprise up to 4 living areas at an altitude of 2916 ft at FL410.
Direct operating cost and productivity index
Based on AMSTAT data, the direct operating cost (DOC) is estimated as the cost of fuel ($4.25/gal), maintenance costs, engine cost, and miscellaneous trip expenses.
In terms of how much it costs to operate a business jet per mile based on the number of executive seats available in a standard configuration, the Embraer Praetor 600 offers the lowest cost per seat mile in the large cabin segment, while the Gulfstream G600 leads the super large cabin segment.
Productivity can be defined in terms of the range to fly a typical passenger configuration and its available fuel, the long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range, and the cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
The productivity index is calculated as speed x range x cabin volume, divided by 1,000,000,000. Based on price point, maximum takeoff weight capabilities, and range, the Embraer Praetor 600 is an aircraft that should be considered in the large cabin category. In the super large cabin segment, the Global 6500 offers the highest productivity index.
As new engines, cabin innovations, and other technologies continue to improve long-range business jets, savvy buyers need to look at a number of other areas to make a sound financial and operational decision.
Although we have captured a number of metrics potential owners may want to look at, the final decision can swing in another direction when other areas are considered, such as residual value, warranty, and the level of service and technical support offered by the manufacturer.
After careful examination of various metrics, including technical and hot-and-high performance, buyers should select the most suitable aircraft, based on its ability to perform the majority of expected missions in comfort while also offering the lowest-cost advantage – both from an operating cost and an acquisition cost perspective.
In addition, when it comes to passenger comfort and wellbeing a number of key areas should be scrutinized before buying a business jet, including aircraft design and cabin lighting, temperature, pressurization, humidity, noise cancellation, acoustic technology, and air filtration and quality.
Likewise, the cabin management system is central to passenger interaction with the aircraft technology which enables them to optimize the cabin environment. Finally, aircraft OEMs’ financial incentives and price list discounts can reposition a product ahead of another. Therefore, make sure these considerations are also included in your financial cost assessment.
René Armas Maes is vp commercial, Jet Link Intl. He is an international aviation consultant who has developed business aviation projects for Fortune 500 companies, venture capital firms, and HNWIs, ranging from corporate travel assessments and fleet planning to market analysis and demand forecasting.