The battle between Gulfstream and Bombardier at the top end of the business jet market has become more fierce. The recently introduced G500 and forthcoming G600 models from Gulfstream will soon be challenged by the forthcoming Bombardier Global 5500 and 6500 models in head to head competition.
But at the pinnacle of the purpose-built business jet market are the recently introduced Global 7500 from Bombardier, certified in 2018, and Gulfstream’s G650ER, which was certified in 2014. Any of the six aircraft we have mentioned has intercontinental range, roomy interiors that put most living rooms to shame, full connectivity with the ground worldwide, and the latest innovations to make business travel more productive, including conference tables, sleeping arrangements, and even onboard showers. But which of these aircraft today are the true “King of the Hill” amongst purpose-built business jets?
Both the Gulfstream G650ER and the Bombardier Global 7500 are twin-engine monoplanes with fuselage-mounted jet engines. The G650ER has a list price of $71.5 million and the Global 7500 is priced at $72.8 million. The G650ER is powered by two Rolls Royce BR700 engines each producing 16,900 pounds of thrust, and the Global 7500 is powered by two GE Passport 20 engines each producing 18,920 pounds of thrust.
Dimensions for the two aircraft show that the Global 7500 is about 11.2 feet longer than the G650ER, which translates into four interior cabin zones for the Global 7500 and three for the Gulfstream. The price per foot of aircraft length is $716,433 for the Gulfstream and $655,856 for the Global 7500. Similarly, the price per pound of maximum takeoff weight is $690 for the G650 and $634 for the Global 7500.
As shown in the following table, the Bombardier Global 7500 is a bit longer than its counterpart G650ER from Gulfstream, with comparable width and height. The weights for the Global 7500 are higher than those of the G650ER, to accommodate the additional length, and also provide a larger payload at maximum fuel.
Both aircraft are incredible performers, with true inter-continental capabilities. In terms of range, the Global 7500 wins, offering a longer range with either fuel or full payloads than the G650ER.
The Global 7500 also outperforms the G650ER on takeoff performance, particularly from high altitude airports. At sea level and ISA temperatures, the G650 requires 6,299 feet of runway versus 5,800 for the Global, which has a 499-foot advantage. At 5,000 feet and 25 degrees Celsius, however, runway requirements expand to 11,139 feet for the Gulfstream versus 8,679 for the Global, giving the Global 7500 an advantage of 2,460 feet in takeoff distance.
Both aircraft are certificated to 51,000 feet, with the Global 7500 having an all engine service ceiling of 43,000 feet versus 41,000 feet for the G650ER. The Global 7500 also has a shorter landing distance requirement, 2,240 feet versus 2,680 for the G650ER, a 440-foot advantage.
Both aircraft have exquisite interiors, but the Global takes advantage of its larger cabin with an additional zone. A number of interior features also differentiate the Global 7500 from the G650. These include a very large galley, availability of a full permanent bed and stand-up shower, and full access to baggage in flight.
The forward crew rest area is standard on the Global 7500, and optional, with a slight reduction in range, on the G650ER. The galley on the Global includes an advanced chiller that takes only 11 minutes to reach temperature once cabin power is available rather than 90 minutes for conventional technologies, as well as dual function convection/microwave ovens. No re-heating on the Global, you can actually fresh cook a meal.
Natural lighting for the Global 7500 is enhanced by the 28 windows, 6 per living space, with 50% more overall window area than the G650. The Soleil lighting system, that uses specific combinations of red and blue light wavelengths to stimulate or suppress melatonin production, provide dynamic daylight simulation to reduce jet lag on long distance flights.
The top end of the market is always a game of leapfrog in terms of aircraft performance, comfort, speed, and range. With a larger cabin, better takeoff and landing performance, longer range, and equal speeds, Bombardier has leap-frogged Gulfstream and is currently “King of the Hill” at the top end of the market. We expect the Global 7500 to sell quite well as the best and most prestigious purpose-built business jet.
Having now taken over performance leadership at the top end of the market, how will the Global 7500 force Gulfstream to respond? The most interesting aspect of the game of leapfrog is that it never finishes until the players are too tired to continue, and we see no signs of that. The industry rumor mill is talking about a Gulfstream G800, with a ten-foot longer cabin, and a cruising speed over Mach 0.93 on the drawing boards. Of course, every time competition occurs, it spurs innovation. We’re looking forward to the continuing battle at the top of the market and the next “leap” forward.