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The Bombardier Challenger 650 and Gulfstream G280 are two extremely similar aircraft.

As a result, deciding which one is better and which one is right for you is not an easy task.

While both aircraft have similar performance figures, there are some striking differences that help to differentiate these aircraft.


Firstly, aircraft performance.

The Bombardier Challenger 650 is powered by two General Electric CF34-3B engines. Each engine is capable of producing up to 8,729 lbs of thrust. As a result, the total thrust output for the Challenger 650 is 17,458 lbs.

On the other hand, the Gulfstream G280 is powered by two Honeywell HTF7250G engines. Each engine is capable of producing up to 7,624 lbs of thrust. As a result, the total thrust output for the G280 is 15,248 lbs.

While the larger Gulfstream aircraft are the fastest in the sky, the same cannot be said for the G280.

The maximum cruise speed of the Challenger 650 comes in at 488 knots. Whereas the maximum cruise speed of the G280 is 482 knots.

However, the Gulfstream has a maximum cruise altitude of 45,000 feet. The Challenger 650 falls short with a maximum cruise altitude of 41,000 feet.

Additionally, the Challenger 650 is a thirstier aircraft. The Challenger has a fuel burn of just 310 Gallons per Hour (GPH). In comparison, the G280 burns 284 Gallons per Hour (GPH).


Something that may be a surprise to many is the range of the G280. The Challenger 650 easily beats the Gulfstream when it comes to official range figures.

The Challenger 650 is capable of flying up to 4,000 nautical miles (4,603 miles / 7,408 kms) without needing to refuel.

In comparison, the G280 is capable of flying up to 3,600 nautical miles (4,143 miles / 6,667 kms) without needing to refuel.

Of course, as with every manufacturer stated range figures, these numbers are somewhat optimistic.

In order to visualize this kind of range, try out our simple tool.

Ground Performance

Despite the Challenger 650 producing greater thrust, the Gulfstream outperforms it when it comes to runway performance.

The Bombardier Challenger 650 has a minimum take off distance of 5,640 feet. In comparison the Gulfstream G280 has a minimum take off distance of 4,750 feet.

The Challenger 650 has a minimum landing distance of 2,402 feet. Whereas the minimum landing distance of the G280 is 2,720 feet.

The crucial figure here is the take off distance. A shorter minimum take off distance enables the aircraft to operate from more airports.

This, in turn, results in increased time savings and increased flexibility. Not only are more airports a potential option, but an airport can be selected that is closer to your final destination. As a result, travel time on the ground will be reduced.

Interior Dimensions

With the exception of width, the G280 beats the Challenger 650 when it comes to interior dimensions.

One of the most notable differences between the Challenger 650 and G280 is the interior length. When it comes to interior length, the Challenger 650’s cabin measures 7.8 meters long. In comparison, the G280’s measures 9.83 meters length.

This is a significant difference in length – around 2 meters.

Next up is interior width.The Challenger 650’s cabin measures 2.41 meters in width. In comparison, the G280’s cabin measures 2.11 meters wide. Of course, a wider cabin will result in more shoulder room and a wider aisle. This will not only make the aircraft more comfortable when sitting down but will also make the cabin easier to navigate.

Finally, cabin height. The Challenger 650’s cabin measures 1.83 meters in height. For reference, the G280 measures 1.85 in interior height.

Officially, the Challenger 650 is capable of carrying up to 12. Whereas the G280 has an official maximum passenger occupancy of 10. This is somewhat surprising given the additional length of the G280.

However, not only is it unlikely that these aircraft will ever fly with every seat filled, but it will also result in passengers flying in the G280 having more space.

And finally, baggage capacity. The Challenger 650 can accommodate 115 cubic feet of luggage. Meanwhile, the G280 has space for up to 120 cubic feet of baggage. This is such a minor difference that it will likely go unnoticed.


When looking at the interior of these aircraft, it is clear that one is older than the other. Any guesses?

Deliveries of the Challenger 650 began in 2015, compared with deliveries of the G280 starting in 2012.

One area where these aircraft are similar, however, is cabin altitude. The lower the cabin altitude the more pleasant the cabin environment. Furthermore, a lower cabin altitude will reduce the effects of jet lag.

The maximum cabin altitude of the Challenger 650 is just 7,000 feet compared with a maximum cabin altitude of 7,000 feet for the G280.

However, keep in mind that these maximum cabin altitude figures are when each aircraft is flying at their maximum altitude. That’s 41,000 feet for the Challenger and 45,000 feet for the Gulfstream. Therefore, the Gulfstream wins out but only just.

Bombardier Challenger 650

With a total cabin volume of 1,146 cubic feet, the widest cabin in class, and Ka-band high-speed internet connectivity, the Challenger 650 jet is the perfect transportation method whether you are seeking a place to relax or a place to work.

Every aircraft features hand stitching throughout the cabin, and if you spec it, beautiful metal insert on the wide leather seats. A feature within all Challenger 650s is the absence of visible speakers in the cabin walls to provide cleaner lines throughout the cabin. All seats are filly reclining and swivel round for maximum comfort. Every component in the aircraft has been hand-built by Bombardier at their factory in Montreal, providing you with an aircraft that is unique in the sky.

The environment within the cabin can be controlled with the mobile app which connects via Bluetooth, controlling the entertainment system and the cabin environment. In the usual configuration, passengers can expect to find four facing leather club seats in the forward section of the jet, with an additional four facing seats towards the aft of the aircraft.

Along with these four seats, guests can find a four-seat divan (with specially made cushions). If you are flying through the night (or just need a nap), the forward seats and the divan can be converted into beds. Considering that the maximum cabin altitude in the Challenger 650 is 7,000 feet, you can be sure that you will arrive at your destination feeling refreshed.

The Bombardier Challenger 650 can carry up to twelve passengers, two pilots, and one flight attendant who can cater for you using the larger appliances in the galley – allowing for faster preparation of food. The galley is hidden behind an electronically controlled door.

Bombardier Challenger 650

Bombardier Challenger 650 Interior forward cabin, four club seats
Bombardier Challenger 650 Interior, cream leather divan, club seats and conference area
Bombardier Challenger 650 Interior, four seats in aft of cabin
Bombardier Challenger 650 Interior angled touchscreen, perspective of of sitting in seat

Gulfstream G280

Gulfstream G280 Interior
Gulfstream G280 Interior
Gulfstream G280 Interior

Gulfstream G280

Despite being the smallest aircraft in the Gulfstream line-up it still gets all the amenities and quality you would expect from any Gulfstream. With a cabin measuring 9.83 meters long, 2.11 meters wide and 1.85 meters tall, there is plenty of space to comfortably move around during flight. With the option to configure the cabin to seat up to 10 passengers and space for up to five passengers to sleep.

There are two cabin layouts that offer the maximum 10 seat capacity, one which features a double-club forward seating arrangement and four seats opposite a three -seat divan (note that only the two edge seats of the divan can be used for take-off and landing). The other configuration replaces the divan with two individual seats in the a single-club configuration. The club seats can be configured into beds, along with the divan.

At the rear of the cabin there is the fully enclosed lavatory, featuring a vacuum toilet, sink and closet to hang garments. Keep going further back and you will find the baggage compartment which is capable of storing 120 cubic feet of baggage, with a maximum weight limit of 1,980 lbs. The maximum cabin altitude in the G280 is 7,000 feet – similar to many airliners – and the cabin noise level stays right around 70 dB. The lower the cabin altitude and the lower the noise levels, the less jet lag you will feel when you arrive at your final destination.

When you walk aboard the G280 you will first notice the galley which is located right opposite the main door. With standard features including cold storage, a coffee maker, ice drawer, hot/cold sink, solid surface countertop, lighted display compartment and a large waste container. Additionally, the galley features the Gulfstream cabin-management system (CMS), allowing passengers to control the entire cabin environment from this master panel. There is also an app available allowing passengers to configure the cabin environment, such as lighting and cabin temperature, from the comfort of their seat.

Charter Price

When it comes to chartering these aircraft the Gulfstream G280 is less expensive than the Bombardier Challenger 650. However, please note that there are many factors that influence the price of a private jet charter. Therefore, prices will vary depending on the mission.

The estimated hourly charter price of the Challenger 650 is $6,600 .

In comparison, the estimated hourly charter price of the G280 is $5,650.

Please do keep in mind that these prices are estimates only. There are a variety of factors that can and will influence the charter price of a private jet.

Purchase Price

And finally, how much does each aircraft cost to buy?

The Bombardier Challenger 650 has a new list price of $32 million. In comparison the Gulfstream G280 has a new list price of $25 million.

However, the purchase price of these aircraft starts to get really interesting when looking at their pre-owned value.

According to Aircraft Bluebook, a five year old Challenger 650 will set you back $15 million.

That’s a 47% retention of value over five years. In a dollar amount, expect to lose $17 million over five years of ownership with the Challenger 650. Of course, that’s just the aircraft itself – excluding any of the costs involved in private jet ownership.

In comparison, a five year old G280 is estimated to cost $13 million. That’s a decrease in $12 million over five years.

This, therefore, results in the G280 will see a 52% retention of value over the same time period.


Ultimately then, which of these two aircraft is better?

While the overall performance of these aircraft is remarkably similar, the interior of the G280 really shows the aircraft models age.

With the exception of the longer cabin, the Challenger 650 offers a better cabin experience compared with the G280.

However, if you are looking to purchase one of these two aircraft, the Gulfstream G280 makes far more sense. The value retention of it is far superior to the Challenger 650.

Although, keep in mind that the G280 is not unique in its ability to retain a substantial amount of value. See the Challenger 650 versus the Praetor 600 or Dassault Falcon 2000LXS.


Benedict is a dedicated writer, specializing in in-depth discussions of private aviation ownership and its associated topics.


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