How do you decide between the fastest private jet in the world versus one of the most popular?
Deliveries of the Cessna Citation X began in 1996 and continued until 2012. In comparison, deliveries of the Bombardier Challenger 300 began in 2003 and continued until 2014.
Both the Cessna Citation X and Bombardier Challenger 300 have a maximum range of over 3,000 nautical miles and both carry a similar number of passengers.
However, there are some key ways that these aircraft differ – for example, the Cessna Citation X does not have a flat floor interior, whereas the Challenger 300 does.
Therefore, continue reading in order to discover the key similarities and differences between these two aircraft, along with finding out which one will suit your needs better.
In order to aid in this comparison we will be using our Premium service comparison feature, which you can learn more about here.
The Cessna Citation X is powered by two Rolls-Royce AE3007C1 engines, with each one capable of outputting 6,442 lbs of thrust. This, therefore, results in a total thrust output of 12,884 lbs. And, when you see images of the Cessna Citation X, you will notice just how large the engines are.
With the power of these engines, the Citation X is able to reach a maximum cruise speed of 525 knots, equivalent to 0.91 Mach. This, therefore, makes the Citation X the fastest private jet in the world. See how it compares with other aircraft here.
In comparison, the Challenger 300 is powered by two Honeywell HTF7000 engines, with each one outputting up to 6,826 lbs of thrust. This results in a total thrust output of 13,652 lbs.
As a result, the Challenger 300 is capable of cruising at up to 470 knots or 0.82 Mach.
Therefore, in terms of high-speed cruise, the Citation X is the clear winner.
However, when looking at the long-range cruise figures, the gap isn’t quite as significant.
When it comes to maximizing the range of each aircraft, the Citation X can cruise at 470 knots, whereas the Challenger 300 cruises at 459 knots. Therefore, when it comes to the long-range cruise speed for each aircraft, the difference is just 11 knots.
While the Citation X can cruise at a higher altitude of 51,000 feet compared with the maximum altitude of 45,000 feet for the Challenger 300, both aircraft have the same initial cruise altitude of 43,000 feet.
Additionally, the Challenger 300 is able to get there faster with a rate of climb of 5,000 feet per minute compared with the 3,650 feet per minute of the Citation X.
However, a key area where the Challenger 300 beats the Citation X is fuel burn. Fuel is typically the most significant cost when it comes to the hourly operating rate of a private jet. Therefore, the lower the fuel burn, the lower the cost.
While the Challenger 300 burns around 266 gallons of fuel per hour, the Citation X burns a hefty 336 gallons per hour. Over the course of a year that 70 gallon difference will really add up.
For example, say it costs you $7 per gallon of fuel. Per hour the Citation X will cost around $500 more in just fuel costs. Then, say you fly 350 hours per year, which adds up to $175,000 of additional fuel costs over the course of one year. Own one of these aircraft for 3 years and that’s an additional half million dollars of fuel burnt over your ownership term.
When it comes to the maximum range of these aircraft the figures are nearly identical, with both capable of flying just over 3,000 nautical miles.
In exact figures, the Cessna Citation X is able to fly non-stop for up to 3,140 nautical miles, compared with the 3,220 nautical mile maximum range of the Bombardier Challenger 300.
These figures will allow you to comfortably fly from New York to anywhere else in the United States or to Canada, Mexico, and the top of South America.
However, these figures aren’t really enough to get you from New York to Europe. Yes, in theory, you could. But once you start adding weight, passengers, and a margin of safety, North America to Europe non-stop is not a realistic possibility.
If you wish to operate these aircraft in Europe, you will be looking at a range figure that is capable of reaching all of Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East. From London, both aircraft will be able to fly just shy of Dubai.
As ever, it is important to remember that the maximum range figures for private jets assume optimum weather conditions and minimal weight onboard.
Therefore, if we use the range calculator on our Premium service that allows you to adjust the range for the number of passengers, we can see how that range slowly decreases as you add passengers.
When it comes to ground performance, the Challenger 300 just about beats out the Citation X.
In terms of ground performance, lower figures are better. This is because the shorter distance required for an aircraft to take-off and land means that you can operate in and out of more airports. The length of the runway stops being as big a concern.
And, as ever with private jets, you want to maximize your options and flexibility as much as possible.
The Citation X has a minimum take-off distance of 5,250 feet compared with the minimum take-off distance of 4,950 feet for the Challenger 300.
When it comes to minimum landing distance the Citation X is able to land in 2,816 feet compared with 2,400 feet for the Challenger 300.
Realistically, will a difference in take-off distance of 300 feet matter in the real world? Probably not. However, it is still beneficial to have a slight edge.
Again, similar to range, this is assuming perfect conditions and minimum weight.
When it comes to the interior dimensions of these aircraft it is important to also consider the exterior dimensions. This will, therefore, demonstrate how well each aircraft uses it’s space.
Firstly, the Citation X exterior measures 72.31 feet in length, 19.19 feet in height, and has a wingspan of 63.91 feet.
In comparison the Challenger 300 measures 68.6 feet in length, 19.69 feet in height, and with a wingspan of 63.81 feet.
So the summarize, the Citation X is slightly longer, not quite as tall, and roughly the same width as the Challenger 300.
Now, let’s take a look at the interior dimensions.
The Citation X measures 23.88 feet in interior length, 5.71 feet in height, and 5.51 feet in width.
Compared with the Challenger 300, this is quite a cramped cabin.
The Challenger 300 measures 23.69 feet in length, 6.1 feet in height, and has an interior width of 7.19 feet.
So, the length is nearly identical despite the exterior of the Citation X is around 3.5 feet longer.
The Challenger 300 has a taller cabin, meaning that it is easier to stand up and move around.
Additionally, the Challenger 300 has a significantly wider cabin which results in a wider aisle, more shoulder room, and wider seats.
Moreover, the difference in cabin volume is quite significant. The Bombardier Challenger 300 has a cabin volume of 1,039 cubic feet compared with a cabin volume of 752 cubic feet for the Citation X.
This highlights just how inefficiently the Citation X uses its space.
As previously mentioned, the Challenger 300 has a taller and wider cabin than the Citation X. As a result it is able to carry more passengers.
The Challenger 300 is capable of carrying up to 10 passengers with a typical configuration providing space for 9 passengers.
In comparison, the Citation X can carry up to 9 passengers with a typical configuration providing space for 8 passengers.
Something that is often overlooked when comparing private jets but is an important factor is the maximum cabin altitude. This is the cabin pressure expressed as an equivalent altitude above sea level. The lower the better.
At maximum altitude, the Citation X has a cabin altitude of 8,000 feet. Whereas when the Challenger 300 is at its maximum altitude it has a cabin altitude of 7,400 feet. However, remember that the Citation X can cruise at a higher altitude.
Therefore, if we look at the altitude that each aircraft can maintain a sea-level cabin to we get a slightly different result.
The Citation X is capable of maintaining a sea-level cabin until 25,230 feet compared with the 23,338 feet of the Challenger 300.
Another important difference with the interior of these aircraft is the floor. The Citation X doesn’t have a flat floor. Pretty much all the competition does.
A flat floor dramatically increases comfort and ease of moving around the cabin. Additionally, the Challenger 300 has inflight baggage access which the Citation X does not.
Cessna Citation X
Even considering that the Citation X is the fastest midsize jet in the world, Cessna did not neglect to design a comfortable and luxurious cabin to complete the package.
At the time of the aircraft’s release, the Citation X had the largest cabin out of any Citation model before it. Its interior dimensions of 23′ 11″ cabin length, 5′ 6″ cabin width, and 5′ 8″ cabin height provide ample space to relax and stretch out.
Typically seating eight passengers in a spacious executive seating configuration, the Citation X can also carry a maximum of twelve passengers in a higher-density seating arrangement.
Introducing a large lavatory, a fully functional galley, and a spacious closet, passengers will find Cessna took great care to accommodate their needs during the flight.
The Citation X also provides over 80 cubic feet of storage space in a well-heated and properly pressurized baggage compartment, effectively preventing damage to the cargo regardless of external weather conditions.
In short, Cessna has designed a comfortable executive cabin to complement the definitively impressive high speeds that the Citation X has become known for.
A bathroom, large enough to double as a dressing room, is located at the rear of the private jet, and a closet, large enough to store garment bags, is within reach.
Cessna Citation X
Bombardier Challenger 300
Bombardier Challenger 300
The business-class cabin provides a working environment to corporate executive standards, a luxurious interior, and 20% taller cabin windows. The cabin measures 28.6 feet long by 7.2 feet wide by 6.2 feet tall giving it a total cabin volume of 930 cubic feet. The passenger cabin has an area of 13.28m² and seats eight business passengers in double-club seating.
The cabin can alternatively be configured with a 16-seat high-density interior. The seating configuration consists of beautiful new leather seating for six, a large three-seat divan in warm neutral colors, and a tenth optional seat available in the enclosed lavatory. The divan easily converts into a bed on longer flights when needed.
It is fitted with tracked swiveling recliner seats each with a table and telephone point. A baggage compartment at the rear of the cabin is accessible in flight.
The cabin and baggage compartments are air-conditioned and pressurized by the Liebherr Aerospace-Toulouse environmental control system. At the rear of the cabin is the galley with passenger facilities. The cabin door is on the port side at the front of the cabin.
The interior amenities include four Adaptive LCD Displays, Dual FMS with LPV and RNP approaches capability, SVS, a MultiScan, Weather radar, dual IRS, dual SBAS GPS, integrated EFIS, and dual VHF and HF radios. Other amenities include Airshow System, Cabin Speakers, CD Stereo, DVD Player, Full Refreshment Center, Fully-Enclosed Aft Lavatory, Headsets, In-Flight Luggage Access, Internally Accessible Closet, Microwave, Power Outlets, and Video Monitors.
The spacious luggage area can be accessed and can accommodate a substantial amount of luggage, including items such as snow skis and golf clubs. In addition, a cabin attendant is provided for longer flights and on request. Its lone pack maintains a comfortable temperature and a cabin altitude of 7,400ft.
Advanced soundproofing systems for business aircraft, the introduction of the Silentium Air 300 Series Kit, a tailor-made soundproofing system uniquely developed based on the engineering specifications of the Bombardier Challenger 300. Installation of the Silentium Air 300 Series Kit will generally reduce overall cabin noise levels by at least three decibels, lower noise levels reduce passenger fatigue, and create a much more productive and comfortable environment for conversation, concentration, and audio/video entertainment.
When it comes to renting one of these aircraft there isn’t too much in the cost.
The estimated charter price for the Cessna Citation X is around $6,000 per hour.
In comparison, the Bombardier Challenger 300 has an estimated hourly charter price of $7,000.
Both aircraft are pretty popular, with around 300 examples of the Citation X and around 450 in-service Challenger 300 aircraft.
Therefore, you shouldn’t have too much trouble trying to source one of these aircraft for charter. However, the Citation X is more popular in America than in Europe, so you may struggle to source one in Europe.
When these aircraft were new they had a relatively similar purchase price, with the Citation X costing $23 million and the Challenger 300 costing $21 million.
However, over the years the Challenger 300 has held more of its value.
See the graph below for a complete value comparison from the Compare Private Planes Premium service.
As we can see, for the same age of aircraft, the Challenger 300 is significantly more.
Current market values suggest that a 2006 Cessna Citation X will cost $6.7 million. In comparison, a same age Challenger 300 will cost just shy of $12 million.
Moreover, the Citation X has a higher annual depreciation rate of 4.17% compared with the 4.13% of the Challenger 300.
However, given the higher initial value of the Challenger 300, after 3 years of ownership, more money will be lost with the Challenger 300. But again, this will have been nearly offset by the lower fuel burn!
If you are looking to purchase an aircraft, you can find one on websites such as Controller or AvBuyer.
So, which aircraft is best?
The Citation X is an aircraft with a lot of personalities. It truly is an iconic aircraft with its impressive looks, large engines, and impressive speed.
However, when looking at these aircraft objectively, just in terms of performance and comfort, the Challenger 300 wins in nearly every category.
The Challenger 300 is cheaper to operate on an hourly basis, will hold its value slightly better, and has a larger, more spacious cabin.
Additionally, the Challenger 300 is capable of keeping up with and, in some cases, beating the performance of the Citation X.
If you want the fastest aircraft in the world then you need to get your hands on a Citation X.
However, if you are interested in aspects other than maximum cruising speed (which most owners are), then the Challenger 300 is likely the more sensible choice.