Business Jet Comparison Report, Research Proposal Example

Report Abstract

The two major business jets of choice, the Gulfstream G500 and the Dassault Falcon 900LX both of points of difference and comparative points in relation to the preferred plane. However, only one business jet is superior and the logical choice for business purposes. This analytical report details and discusses the five major aspects of consideration when choosing between both business jets, and in comparison to each, which plane is a better choice.

In such a comparative analysis, cost effectiveness, in terms of quality and choice, are discussed. This will form the basis for an affordable and viable business jet. Secondly, the maintenance aspects of the business jet will be discussed. This includes and short-term or long-term investments, in relation to time and money. Thirdly, the performance of the business jet itself will be highlighted. This includes engine capabilities and durability over the long run. Fourthly, the control functionalities of the light aircraft will be detailed. This includes safety and additional capabilities that can be utilized by both the captain and the pilot. Lastly, passenger comforts will be discussed, in relation to internal and external space. This will include specific dimensions that cater for passengers on board.

With the rise of living standards globally, the conventional airliner is unable to meet all the needs of an increasingly affluent customer base. Therefore, it is becoming more common for consumers to buy a business jet. This report seeks to answer the question of which top selling business jet to buy that is increasingly being asked by wealthy potential buyers. It will compare between two of the most popular jets in the markets with similar specifications, the Gulfstream G500 and Dassault 900LX. The report will investigate and conclude which jet is better from different perspectives.

Introduction

Business jet aircraft have often been considered a luxury for high-flying entrepreneurs and successful businessmen and women; however, in recent times, they have become the choice flying option for business endeavours. In particular, the two popular jet aircraft, namely the Gulfstream G500 and the Dassault Falcon 900LX, are the leading aircraft in the industry. The five aspects of both aircraft, including cost effectiveness, maintenance, performance, control, and passenger comfort, coupled with a comparison analysis and choice of preferred aircraft, are discussed and highlighted herein.

Background of Gulfstream G500 and Dassault 900LX

Gulfstream G500 is commercial jets that are made by General Dynamic in Georgia, USA. The jets were first made by the company in the year 2003 and received flight certification in the year 2004. The jet was designed to meet the needs of the customers who desire adequate flight space during their journeys. General Dynamic has been in operations for more than 80 years since its inception in the year 1912. The company has dominated the defence market by manufacturing jets that are suited for defence purposes (Bowen, 2009).

Dassault 900LX is one of the jets that were made by Dassault Aviation in France in the year 2008. Dassault Aviation is one of the jet manufacturers in the world that was founded in the early 1920s. The company has made different jets for different air flight businesses. Dassault 900LX was built to satisfy the needs of the customers who are driven by the need for adequate space and greater comfort (Isikveren, 2012).

Preliminary Research

Price is one of the most important factors taken into consideration when buying a business jet (Bieger, Wittmer, & Laesser, 2007). Potential buyers tend to prefer jets with lower prices, especially if the performance of the cheaper jet is similar or better than the more expensive alternative. The range of the Gulfstream G500 is 10,742 km with a price tag of $36 million, whereas the range of the Dassault Falcon 900LX is 8,797 km at a price of $39 million, making a solid case for the former.

While the price of purchasing a business jet is an upfront cost, maintenance costs of the airframe and propulsion system of a plane is a recurring cost that is non-trivial. The estimated annual maintenance cost of a Gulfstream G500 is $206,700, while the Dassault Falcon 900LX is $250,800 (“JETNET & ACC Reporting”). This undesirably higher maintenance cost of the Dassault 900LX can be attributed to its three engines, which requires more maintenance than the Gulfstream G500 with two engines (Bowen, 2009).

Emissions from aircraft engines consist of carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, sulphur components and various other gases and particles (Schumann, 1994). A stellar engine is benchmarked by its low fuel consumption, which translates into lower emissions of these noxious gases into the environment. For the Gulfstream G500, its fuel cost per nautical mile is $5.43. As for the Dassault Falcon 900LX, its fuel cost per nautical mile is $5.82. This translates into a relative reduction of $0.39 per nautical mile in fuel costs for the G500. When multiplied over the range of the G500 and the number of flights per year, the total reduction in fuel costs is by no means trivial. Furthermore, although the fuel consumption of Gulfstream G500 is lower, its thrust per engine is 15,385 pounds, whereas the thrust per engine of the Dassault Falcon 900LX is only 5,000 pounds.

The sophistication of cockpit avionics and flight deck details play an extremely important role in the ease of control of an aircraft (Michael, 1995). The Gulfstream G500 is equipped with the most advanced flight deck in business aviation, the Gulfstream Plane View cockpit. It includes the signature Gulfstream Cursor Control Device (CCD) and the optional Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System (EVS) II. The CCD assists pilots in flight planning, navigation and communication. On the other hand, the EVS II can improve situational awareness as it helps pilots see runway markings, taxiways and the surrounding landscape at night or in foggy weather. In contrast, the avionics of the Dassault Falcon 900LX do not come close in terms of sophistication, as pictures of both cockpits will indicate in the report.

Studies indicate that passengers tend to feel more comfortable and safer in a larger aircraft as compared with smaller planes (Bruning, 1997). In terms of internal dimensions, the Gulfstream G500 has a cabin height of 6’2″, a cabin length of 43’11” and a cabin width of 7’4″. On the other hand, the Dassault Falcon 900LX has a cabin height of 6’2″, a cabin length of 33’2″ and a cabin width of 7’8″. The cabins´ heights and widths are similar, but the Gulfstream G500 cabin length is longer than the Dassault Falcon 900LX by more than 30 feet. As for the external dimensions, Gulfstream G500 also has a fuselage length of 96’5″, whereas the Dassault Falcon 900LX’s only measures in at 66’4″.

Scope

(Bowen, 2009) asserts that although the two jets are very similar in terms of popularity and options, the Gulfstream G500 and the Dassault Falcon 900LX are still in contrast in regards to the five aspects as aforementioned. In particular, the features and performance for the advertised price, the short-term and long-term maintenance costs, engine capabilities, including fuel consumption and thrust, ease of control, including cockpit avionics and flight deck details, and passenger comfort for internal and external dimensions. These will be explained, compared and contrasted throughout the analytical report.

Cost Effectiveness

For the purposes of cost effectiveness, both the Gulfstream G500 and the Dassault Falcon 900LX differ slightly. The former costs approximately $36 between to 38 million, while the latter costs approximately from $39  to 43 million, which makes the Gulfstream G500 more affordable than the Dassault Falcon 900LX (Budd and Graham, 2009).

Including maintenance costs, which will also be discussed later, the ongoing long-term costs would average approximately $206 7000 annually, for the Gulfstream G500. These costs include maintenance of the airframe and propulsion system, which is an upfront cost. When compared to the Dassault Falcon 900LX, these upfront costs are reasonably priced for the Gulfstream G500, whereas the Dassault Falcon 900LX is upwards of $250 000 annually, however, this is due to the fact that the Dassault Falcon 900LX runs on three engines, while the Gulfstream G500 runs on two engines.

(Isikveren, 2012) In his comparison posits fuel costs are relatively the lowest cost factor amongst the included cost price of the Gulfstream G500 and the Dassault Falcon 900LX, as the Gulfstream G500 fuel cost per nautical mile is approximately $5.43, whereas the Dassault Falcon 900LX nautical mile fuel cost is approximately $5.82; so there is an insignificant cost differentiation between the two business jets. However, as shown later, this could have long-term benefits when comparing cost benefits between both options on lower fuel consumption. As it is, lower-cost aircraft are

Maintenance

The long-term and short-term maintenance timeframe and associated costs need to be taken into account when considering the benefits of a specific business jet. Although the Dassault Falcon 900LX has more engine power than the Gulfstream G500, it needs more maintenance over the long-term and is therefore not a viable option in comparison to the Gulfstream G500. The thrust of the Dassault Falcon 900LX engine is also comparably lower than the Gulfstream G500, as it only is 5000 pounds, whereas the Gulfstream G500 is a significantly larger 15 385 pounds, which compensates for the smaller engines (Isikveren, 2012).

Maintenance of the engines in particular, as well as the other features of the performance-related aircraft should be minimised, at least on time-cost basis (Huda, 2011). The Gulfstream G500 evidently requires less maintenance, but offers more performance than the Dassault Falcon 900LX. This will also be discussed below, in terms of performance benefits for both business jets  (Bowen, 2009).

Performance

Fuel consumption and thrust are two aspects of business jets that are quite important when comparing and contrasting performance. As emissions from business jets are quite harmful to both the environment and people, it is necessary that the business jet of choice minimises these outputs (Grewe, 2010).

As aforementioned, lower fuel consumption is often cost effective, and both business jets have a marginal point of difference in regards to fuel consumption. However, the Gulfstream G500 still has a lower fuel cost per nautical mile when compared to the Dassault Falcon 900LX. Therefore, over the long-term, the lower fuel consumption will lead to a lower output of harmful emissions, showing that the Gulfstream G500 is preferred for performance in relation to fuel consumption.

Secondly, the engine thrust of the Dassault Falcon 900LX is almost incomparable to the Gulfstream G500 engine thrust, which is several times larger. Although the former has three engines, compared to the latter two, the engine thrust is not as high as the other. The thrust of the Dassault Falcon 900LX is only 5000 pounds, while the Gulfstream 5000 is up to 15 385 pounds, well above the competition (Mane, & Crossley, 2009).

These performance aspects, as coupled with the control features detailed below, form a significant bolstering to the case for the Gulfstream G500 over the Dassault Falcon 900 LX. As built according to aviation standards, both planes are fit for the airspace, are fit for the purposes of business travel are similar, but not the same, in terms of the aspects discussed here.

However, in relation to performance in particular, the Gulfstream G500 has more engine thrust over the Dassault Falcon 900LX, and for the short-term, two engines will be adequate instead of three. Long-term wise, the engine thrust is comparably larger than the competition, which will prove to be an asset over continued business use.

Business Aircraft by contingent of registration

Figure 1: Business Aircraft by contingent of registration (Mane, & Crossley, 2009)

As shown above, most business aircraft are utilized for the purpose of business in North America, mainly because many multinational companies have headquarters based in the United States. This shows a positive benefit of using business jets over the long-term, as it is more efficient and effective in the country of residence (see Figure 1).

Control

Cockpit avionics and flight details make up the defining factors of control when comparing the advantages and disadvantages of two different business jets. The Gulfstream G500 comes in-built with its own flight deck and made-to-build cockpit. The Gulfstream Plane View cockpit includes the Gulfstream Cursor Control Device (CCD) and also the additional option of the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System (EVS II), which are both considered cutting edge technologies in business aviation (Isikveren, 2012).

Furthermore, these technologies, specifically the CCD, can assist the captain and the pilot in terms of flight planning, navigation and communication. The EVS II can also improve situational awareness by improved visibility, objectivity and inclement weather coordination.

These functions and additional options are available in the control mechanism of the Gulfstream G500. However, the Dassault Falcon 900LX does not have such in-built control functionalities, nor does it have additional options, in terms of control capabilities, other than the standard functions in economical business jets. Therefore, the Dassault Falcon 900LX is the least preferred, in terms of control, when compared with the higher controlled Gulfstream G500 (Isikveren, 2012).

Passenger Comfort

The internal and external dimensions often come into play when considering passenger comfort. Typically, business jets are light aircraft and not as large their commercial aircraft counterparts. Therefore, the dimensions as outlined below are as per each business jet mentioned.

Internally, the Gulfstream G500 has a cabin height of 6 feet, 2 inches, cabin length of 43 feet, 11 inches, and a cabin width of 7 feet, 8 inches. This would suit most passengers, in terms of available space and comfort provided. On the other hand, however, the Dassault Falcon 900LX has also has a cabin height of 6 feet, 2 inches, but only a cabin length of 33 feet, 2 inches, and also a cabin width of 7 feet, 8 inches. These internal dimensions for the latter are quite constrictive in comparison to the former (Mane, & Crossley, 2009).

Externally, the Gulfstream G500 is also superior to the Dassault Falcon, with a fuselage of approximately 96 feet, 5 inches, whereas the other is only 66 feet, 4 inches. This is a large difference in size, in terms of external dimensions, as the pilot and captain of the business jet would need to take such differences into consideration. This is the case in choosing the business jet as well, especially in relation to the specific measurements, and is one of the many reasons why the Gulfstream G500 is quite a popular option (Ghoman, 2012; Bowen, 2009).

Business Jet Considerations

As discussed above, the Gulfstream G500 and the Dassault Falcon 900LX differ significantly in relation to many aspects. In particular, the features and performance for the advertised price, the short-term and long-term maintenance costs, the engine capabilities, including fuel consumption and thrust, ease of control, including cockpit avionics and flight deck details, and passenger comfort for internal and external dimensions all differ in efficiency and effectiveness.

Top 10 Countries for business aircraft registrations

Figure 2: Top 10 Countries for business aircraft registrations (Bowen, 2009).

Leading business jet purchases and utilizations, as aforementioned, is the United States of America, followed also by Canada and Mexico (see Figure 2). As shown above, the number of registered aircraft is seen to be flown mostly in U.S. airspace. Therefore, the use of business jets should be used primarily for business purposes, in order to reduce maintenance issues and increase cost effectiveness.

Furthermore, the engine capabilities, in relation to performance, should pose positive benefits for the capabilities needed when manoeuvring and flying the actual business jet. As one of the most important aspects when considering purchasing a new aircraft, the engine capabilities should be significantly high and large enough to outweigh any disadvantages that the business jet may have (Bowen, 2009).

As shown below, the European uses of business jets are quite high in the major countries, as opposed to smaller areas. This may be due to the fact that restricted airspace would limit the use of business aircraft, where it is easier to travel by other transport options, while open areas have more flying options (see Figure 3).

Non-US business aircraft registrations

Figure 3: Non-US business aircraft registrations (Isikveren, 2012).

For the purposes of control, there is almost no comparison with other business jets when small aircraft distinguish between others with in-built, cutting edge technologies tailored to the use of the pilots and captain of the aircraft, making ease of control a viable factor in the choice of aircraft.

When considering comfort, passengers often prefer a wide berth, comfortable cabin room, and external space when considering flight time and availability. Therefore, the business jet that provides all three in the same aircraft will definitely be the choice aircraft when purchasing (Isikveren, 2012).

For the purposes of business, such a consideration involves both time and money, which must be invested into the business jet in order to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the light aircraft. As both aircraft are leaders in the industry, it is often difficult to differentiate which is the aircraft of choice, however, the analysis and discussion herein suggests that there is a definite choice to be made, in terms of the five aspects as aforementioned. These include the cost effectiveness, maintenance, performance, and control and passenger comfort of the business jet (Mane, & Crossley, 2009).

As mentioned earlier, all these aspects show considerable advantage over the alterative aircraft, and are both viable and preferable to the competition. Therefore, the Gulfstream G500 is recommended as the business jet of choice, for its cost effectiveness, which accounts for a $3 million in savings, its maintenance benefits, which over both the short-term and long-term, has less engine burden and therefore less emissions, its performance features, which highlights lower fuel consumption and more engine thrust, its control capabilities, with cutting edge technology and in-built features, and its passenger comfort, which boasts wider cabin room and more fuselage.

Conclusion

In summary, the Gulfstream G500 is clearly the business jet of choice in comparison to the Dassault Falcon 900LX, for the long-term benefits of including cost effectiveness, maintenance, performance, control, and passenger comfort. The benefits of the Gulfstream G500 far outweigh any advantages that the Dassault Falcon 900LX may have, and is the recommended business jet for the purposes of business, since it exceeds the expectations of most business jet buyers on the market.

The list of characters of both jets is as summarized in the table below:

   Cost effectiveness Maintenance Performance
Gulfstream G500 Tag price $ 36 million

Fuel cost per nautical miles is $ 5.43

Requires less maintenance over short term and long term periods

Has an  engine with larger thrust but requires less maintenance cost

Higher performance of over shorter distances thus low fuel consumption

Low fuel consumption per nautical miles

Low output of fuel emissions.

Big thrust engines for good performance over short and long term hence a competitive edge in the business.

Dassault 900LX Tag price $ 39 million

Fuel cost per nautical miles $ 5.49

Low thrust engine but high fuel consumption over short distances

High cost of maintenance incurred over short and long distances

High fuel consumption per nautical miles

Fuel emissions over long distances are higher.

Low thrust of engines with high fuel consumption therefore not very effective efficient commercial activities.

References

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Mane, M., & Crossley, W. A. (2009). Importance of aircraft type and operational factors for air taxi cost feasibility. Journal of Aircraft46(4), 1222-1230.