It is important to start with some disclaimers. First, it is unfair to compare paper planes with ones that have been delivered.
Until an aircraft is flown by a customer, you are right to be sceptical about manufacturer claims. Airlines are already operating A220 aircraft, but the ACJ TwoTwenty has significant modifications – including five auxiliary fuel tanks.
Conversely, Gulfstream has announced a maximum range of 7,500nm (13,890km) for the G700. Gulfstream has a great habit of delivering aircraft that fly further than first promised. Manufacturers also upgrade aircraft, so, we decided to compare a 2020 Global 7500 with two aircraft expected to be delivered in 2023.
The second disclaimer is that even if the ACJ TwoTwenty is designed to compete with the ultra-long-range aircraft, it is a very different option. The ACJ TwoTwenty is a Bentley or Rolls-Royce, while the Gulfstream is a Ferrari, and the Bombardier a Porsche.
But it is fascinating to see how Airbus’s entrant into this new market segment, the Xtra Large Bizjet, competes with two flagship ultra-long-range aircraft.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: 5,650nms (10,500kms)
-Bombardier Global 7500: 7,700nms (14,260kms)
-Gulfstream G700: 7,500nms (13,890 kms).
On paper this is an easy win for Bombardier and Gulfstream (and we are pretty sure that Gulfstream will add to the range), but very few of these models will ever fly this far. Unless you have a specific route you regularly fly, more than 5,500nm is still enough.
The ACJ TwoTwenty can fly directly between London and Los Angeles, Moscow and Jakarta, Tokyo and Dubai or Beijing and Melbourne.
If you were trying to fly between London and Sydney, for example, you could refuel just once. In fact, you would need to do that anyway for all three.
One thing worth remembering is that to fly maximum range you are spending a lot of time in the aircraft. The ACJ TwoTwenty will fly you for more than 12 hours and Airbus will argue that passengers would prefer extra space. The G700 and Global 7500 are faster though.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: Mach 0.82 (629mph)
-Bombardier Global 7500: Mach 0.925 (710mph)
-Gulfstream G700: Mach 0.925 (710mph).
Both the ultra-long-range jets are 12% faster. Time-pressured CEOs may find this a strong argument. However, to fly longer ranges both the Gulfstream and Bombardier typically fly at Mach 0.85.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: 5,249ft (1,600m)
-Bombardier Global 7500: 5,800 ft (1,768m)
-Gulfstream G700: 6250 ft (1,905m).
All these figures are truly impressive, and it is worth remembering that the Global and G700 have a longer range. But it does mean that most significant airports will be open to the ACJ TwoTwenty. In fact, the airline version the A220-100 is the largest aircraft able to operate in the constrained environment of London City Airport. The Global 7500 can also fly out of London City – in March 2019 one flew direct to Los Angeles. And you would bet on the Gulfstream G700 achieving this.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: $70 – $81.5m
-Bombardier Global 7500: $72.8m
-Gulfstream G700: $76m.
Although Airbus has not announced a fixed price for the TwoTwenty, Benoit Defforge, President, ACJ, told Corporate Jet Investor that the “price would be just below the high end of the ultra-long-range offer”, which means under $80m.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: Ku
-Bombardier Global 7500: Ka
-Gulfstream G700: Ka.
All three have great connectivity. But size is an advantage – it allows aircraft to have larger tail mounted antennae. ACJ says that the TwoTwenty connection will be twice as fast as competitors.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: <18
-Bombardier Global 7500: <19
-Gulfstream G700: <19.
All three aircraft are designed up to 18 or 19 passengers. Although, in reality, most flights will have fewer passengers. The ACJ TwoTwenty figure is a little misleading as the Airbus A220-100 airline version is designed for between 100 and 130 passengers.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: 10ft 7 in/ 3.28m
-Bombardier Global 7500: 8ft 0in
-Gulfstream G700: 8ft 2in.
-ACJ TwoTwenty: 77ft 7in
-Bombardier Global 7500: 54 ft 5in
-Gulfstream G700: 63ft 8in.
All three are fantastic aircraft and a lot of choice will come down to relationship and personal preference. However, compared with ultra-long-range jets, the ACJ TwoTwenty offers transcontinental range with a large cabin at a competitive price. It will be fascinating to see how the market will respond to what Defforge termed this new category in the market: “The extra-large business jet.”