Gulfstream G600 wows NBAA, but brokers aren’t convinced
Gulfstream displayed a full-size mock-up of its $54.5 million Gulfstream G600 at NBAA 2014 in Orlando last week.
The aircraft manufacturer launched the aircraft, alongside the $43.5 million Gulfstream G500, at a special ceremony in Savannah, Georgia a week before the annual business aviation convention.
During the launch ceremony, the G500 taxied out under its own power, but the larger G600 has only materialised as a mock-up so far.
At its NBAA press conference, Larry Flynn, president of Gulfstream, joked that a number of people asked how they had managed to roll out the G500 without power, as it was so quiet.
Aircraft brokers weigh in
Gulfstream has scheduled G500 deliveries for 2018, with the G600 following in 2019. The company insists that the G500 and G600 are additions to the Gulfstream business jet family, rather than replacements for the G450 and G550.
Chad Anderson, president of Jetcraft, told Corporate Jet Investor that Gulfstream has instructed aircraft brokers that the company will let the market decide when to eventually phase out its older models. However, another US aircraft broker said he suspected Gulfstream may speed up certification for both aircraft, should G450 and G550 sales begin to stall.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful product,” Anderson said of the G600. “For existing Gulfstream owners looking to upgrade, it’s a no brainer.”
But Anderson said Bombardier – which represents the fiercest competition with its Global business jet family – may well have breathed a sigh of relief when it saw the aircraft’s specifications.
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“Globals are bigger, they cost less [the list price of a Global 5000 is $49 million] and you can get them today,” said the other US broker, who suggested that an aircraft buyer would be better off buying a cheaper – and arguably, more capable – Global jet than waiting for the G600.
Inside the G600
Although the G600 is smaller than the G650, Scott Neal, senior vice president worldwide sales & marketing, says the aircraft will provide “G650 style comfort,” with large, oval windows and the potential for four living areas (the slightly smaller G500 can host up to three living areas).
For the G600 mock-up, Gulfstream chose MSB Design in Quebec, Canada, to provide a mock-up of an electric Hi-Lo table and Crystal Carbon and Flatwear (CCF) inserts, designed for storing expensive crockery safely.
Shannon Gill, director, business development at MSB Design, said CCF inserts can cost $700 to $3,000 per piece or from $7,500 up to $80,000 for a full galley.
“The way I look at it is that you’re not spending money on the insert, you’re spending money to protect some very valuable items,” said Gill.
Side-stick replaces the yoke
One of the more controversial features of the G600 is the side-stick, replacing the more traditional yoke in the cockpit.
“We think the side-stick is a significant advancement in safety,” said Flynn. “We are the first in the industry to do it and we are committed to it going forward.”
During the show, Éric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, joked that Gulfstream had followed its lead.
“We always have great satisfaction when we have placed a new path for the rest of the industry to follow,” he said. “And we are pleased to see that our friends in Savannah have finally decided to move towards side-sticks.”
Although Gulfstream is confident about the side-stick, Flynn said the company will wait for the market’s response, before deciding whether to make it available on other Gulfstream models as a retrofit option.