The Bombardier Global Express and Gulfstream G550 are two extremely popular large aircraft that are both capable of flying over 6,000 nautical miles.
The Global Express is the first in the highly popular Bombardier Global lineup of aircraft. A family that includes the Global Express, Express XRS, Global 5000, 5500, 6000, 6500, Global 7500, and the new Global 8000.
Additionally, the G550 had a production run of over 15 years with over 600 aircraft delivered and in active service.
Therefore, these are two heavyweights of the business jet world. As a result, these two aircraft will often be put up against each other when a potential owner is trying to decide which aircraft to purchase.
As a result, there are some key questions that need to be answered in order to choose which aircraft is right for you.
In order to aid in this comparison we will be using our Premium service comparison feature, which you can learn more about here.
First up, performance. Sure enough, it’s a close battle between these two aircraft.
The Bombardier Global Express is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710-A2-20 engines. Each engine is capable of producing up to 14,750 lbs of thrust. As a result, the total thrust output for the Global Express is 29,500 lbs.
The result is the Global Express being able to cruise at 488 knots at a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet. In order to get the maximum range out of the aircraft the Global Express has a long-range cruise speed of 459 knots.
On the other hand, the Gulfstream G550 is also powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710 engines. However, each engine is capable of producing up to 15,385 lbs of thrust. As a result, the total thrust output for the G550 is 30,770 lbs.
Consequently, the Gulfstream G550 has the exact same cruise speeds and maximum altitude as the Global Express.
One key area that these two aircraft do differ is fuel burn. The Global Express, on average, burns 486 gallons of fuel per hour. In comparison, the G550 burns just 358 gallons of fuel per hour.
This is a significant difference, especially given that the other stats are the same.
For example, if you were to take a Jet A fuel price of $5 per gallon, the Global Express will cost $2,430 per hour just in fuel. Whereas the G550’s hourly fuel cost will be $1,790. That’s a difference of $640.
Therefore, if you are flying 400 hours per year, the G550 will have a lower fuel cost of just over a quarter of a million dollars.
The Global Express is capable of flying up to 6,100 nautical miles (7,020 miles / 11,297 kms) without needing to refuel.
In comparison, the G550 can fly further, with a maximum range of 6,750 nautical miles (7,768 miles / 12,501 kms).
This means that both aircraft can comfortably fly from New York to Europe, the Middle East, South America, and most of Africa. However, the G550 is able to fly non-stop, theoretically, from New York to New Delhi.
Of course, as with every manufacturer-stated range figures, these numbers are somewhat optimistic.
In order to find the maximum range of these aircraft with passengers onboard we can use the passenger input on the Compare Private Planes Premium range map.
While the range decrease somewhat with passengers onboard, it is unlikely to impact operational capabilities too much.
The ground performance between these two aircraft is remarkably similar.
Ground performance is an important factor to consider as the shorter runway required, the greater operational capabilities of the aircraft.
This means that you are able to fly from more airports, meaning that you will be able to arrive and depart closer to your final destination.
The Bombardier Global Express has a minimum take off distance of 5,820 feet.
In comparison the Gulfstream G550 has a minimum take off distance of 5,910 feet.
When it comes to landing distance, the Global Express yet again just wins with a minimum landing distance of 2,670 feet. Whereas the minimum landing distance of the G550 is 2,770 feet.
Realistically a difference of 90 feet in take off distance and 100 feet in landing distance isn’t going to have too much of an impact in the real world.
And, again, it’s important to remember that these manufacturer stated figures are in optimum conditions.
Interior dimensions matter with a private jet as it dictates the number of living zones, number of seats, and overall comfort.
The wider the cabin the wider the seats, the more shoulder room, and the wider the aisle. And a wider aisle means that it is easier to move around the cabin.
Additionally, the taller the cabin the easier it is to move around and the more spacious the cabin will feel.
Length is important in terms of having space for more seats and more features such as bedrooms, lavatories, and dining areas.
When it comes to the Global Express and Gulfstream G550, the dimensions are relatively similar, with the G550 having a longer and wider cabin, and the Global Express having a taller cabin.
The Bombardier Global Express interior measures 48.23 feet in length, 6.27 feet in height, and 6.92 feet in height.
In comparison, the G550 measures 50.1 feet in length, 6 feet in height, and 6.99 in width.
The additional length of the G550 means that its maximum passenger capacity is 19, while the Global Express has a maximum passenger capacity of 18.
However, these aircraft are rarely configured for the absolute maximum number of passengers. Therefore, it is important to consider the typical number of passengers.
Again, the G550 outperforms the Global Express with a typical configuration of 15 and 13 passengers respectively.
Deliveries of the Global Express began in 1999, compared with deliveries of the G550 starting in 2003.
Given that production of these aircraft are from a similar era, the features and interiors are relatively similar. Additionally, given the mission profiles of these aircraft, there are some interior features that are standard with these types of aircraft.
However, one area that is often overlooked but extremely important is the maximum cabin altitude. A lower cabin altitude will reduce the impact of jet lag and provide a more pleasant cabin environment.
Generally speaking, Gulfstream aircraft have one of the lowest cabin altitudes in the industry, however, when it comes to the G550, the Global Express beats it.
The Global Express has a maximum cabin altitude of 5,680 feet compared with a maximum cabin altitude of 6,000 feet for the Gulfstream G550.
However, the G550 is able to maintain a sea-level cabin for longer (29,200 feet compared with 26,500 feet for the Global Express).
Bombardier Global Express
Inside the Global Express, you will find ample space and intense comfort. The luxurious cabin is designed for up to 18 passengers. However, interior specifications will vary with some having space for up to 12 passengers.
All configurations will have the ability to provide fully flat beds for some of the passengers. Typically you will find space for 5 passengers to sleep in a fully flat bed setup.
The galley of the Global Express is equipped to provide hot and cold meals on long flights. From breakfast to dinner your flight attendant will be able to cater for you.
A maximum cabin altitude of 5,680 feet will ensure that the cabin environment is always pleasant. This low cabin altitude will reduce your jet lag when you arrive at your exotic destination. The Global Express features a restroom at the rear of the aircraft.
Depending upon the configuration you may come across a Global Express with two restrooms. HD entertainment facilities, WiFi connectivity, and a private stateroom are common among many Global Express aircraft.
Bombardier Global Express
One of the most notable features with all Gulfstream’s are the large, oval shaped windows. These windows are larger than the competition and the G550 features 14 Gulfstream Signature Oval Windows throughout the cabin, making the cabin feel even larger and helping boost wellness through the abundance of natural light.
Despite the length of time that the G550 has been in service it still features all the modern technology that one would expect from a private jet. All seats feature a personal audio/visual display and cabin settings are able to be controlled through a smartphone app, such as the window shades, the cabin temperature, video input, cabin audio and flight information.
When configuring the aircraft everything is bespoke to the customer with a wide range of cabin configurations available (see below). You can option forward or aft galley configurations, with or without a crew compartment, and up to four living areas. If you want a rice cooker in the galley this can be optioned. As standard, the G550 features a wireless network, satellite communication, satellite phone, and a fax/printer.
The cabin altitude in the G550 never exceeds 6,000 feet, which is lower than most airliners and business jets. This cabin altitude, combined with the low cabin noise levels of 53 dB and 100% fresh cabin air, means that no matter what you are doing – working, relaxing, sleeping, or dining – you will be operating at peak efficiency. These qualities will also help to minimize the effects of jet lag so that you feel more rested when you arrive at your destination.
When it comes to chartering these aircraft the Global Express is less expensive than the Gulfstream G550.
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 Global Express is $7,100.
In comparison, the estimated hourly charter price of the G550 is $7,650.
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.
When new, the Global Express was less expensive than the G550 with a new list price of $46 million. In comparison, the Gulfstream G550 had a new list price of $62 million.
The G550 remains more expensive to this day, however, year-on-year loses more value than the Global Express.
Current estimates suggest that a 2005 Bombardier Global Express would cost $13.3 million while a 2005 Gulfstream G550 would cost $19 million.
However, in 3 years’ time, that same Global Express will still be worth around $12.5 million while the G550 will be worth under $16 million.
Therefore, the G550 will lose around $1 million per year of ownership over 3 years while the Global Express will lose less than $1 million over the whole 3-year ownership period.
So, which aircraft is best? And which should you choose?
Both the Global Express and G550 are extremely similar aircraft, even down to their annual operating expenses (you can calculate with Premium).
There are few scenarios where one aircraft will comfortably outperform the other and most differences are marginal.
Therefore, it will likely come down to price.
The G550 is estimated to lose more value than the Global Express. However, there are more G550s in service so you will likely have an easier time finding one for sale.
Therefore, it will come down to the budget for acquisition and operation, which you can thoroughly calculate here.