The Gulfstream G500 and Gulfstream G550 are incredible aircraft in their own right. However, when put head to head, which one comes out on top?
Which aircraft should you charter or even buy?
And, how much progress and developments have been made over the generations? For reference, deliveries of the G550 began in 2003 and end this year. The G500 is a much newer aircraft with deliveries having started in 2018.
To start off the comparison between these two private jets, let’s take a look at general performance.
The Gulfstream G500 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engines. Each engine is capable of producing up to 15,144 lbs of thrust. As a result, the total thrust output for the G500 is 30,288 lbs.
On the other hand, the Gulfstream G550 is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710 engines. 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 maximum cruise speed of the G500 comes in at 516 knots. Whereas the maximum cruise speed of the G550 is 488 knots.
It is also worth noting that both aircraft are capable of cruising at up to 51,000 feet.
Additionally, the fuel burn of both aircraft is remarkably similar. The G500 has a fuel burn of just 353 Gallons per Hour (GPH). In comparison, the G550 burns 358 Gallons per Hour (GPH).
As a result, the only real difference in performance between these two aircraft is their maximum cruise speed.
Both aircraft have similar thrust outputs, burn similar amounts of fuel and can cruise at the same altitude. Speed is the real difference here.
Range is the first major difference between the G500 and G550. Quite simply, the Gulfstream G550 can fly considerably further on a single tank of fuel than the newer G500.
The G500 is capable of flying up to 5,300 nautical miles (6,099 miles / 9,816 kms) without needing to refuel.
In comparison, the G550 is capable of flying up to 6,750 nautical miles (7,768 miles / 12,501 kms) without needing to refuel.
A difference of nearly 1,500 nautical miles is significant. For example, the G550 is able to fly non-stop from New York to Dubai. On the other hand, the G500 would run out of fuel by Tel Aviv.
Visualize these kind of range figures using our simple tool.
Despite having similar thrust outputs, the newer G500 is able to beat the G550 when it comes to minimum take off distance.
The Gulfstream G500 has a minimum take off distance of 5,300 feet. In comparison the Gulfstream G550 has a minimum take off distance of 5,910 feet.
The G500 has a minimum landing distance of 3,100 feet. Whereas the minimum landing distance of the G550 is 2,770 feet.
Will a difference of this size be felt in the real world? Probably not. However, it helps to somewhat illustrate the improved performance and technology over the 15 years between these aircraft.
A notable difference between the G500 and G550 is the interior length. When it comes to interior length, the G500’s cabin measures 14.5 meters long. In comparison, the G550’s measures 15.27 meters length.
However, the G500 takes advantage of being slightly wider than the G550.The G500’s cabin measures 2.31 meters in width. In comparison, the G550’s cabin measures 2.13 meters wide.
Finally, cabin height. The G500’s cabin measures 1.88 meters in height. For reference, the G550 measures 1.83 in interior height.
In reality, extra height and width will be noticed and appreciate by passengers more than a longer cabin. However, when it comes to passenger capacity, a longer cabin can help to provide additional seats.
In this case, according to Gulfstream, both the G500 and G550 are capable of carrying up to 19 passengers. Of course, it is unlikely that these aircraft will ever fly with every seat occupied.
And finally, baggage capacity. The G500 can accommodate 175 cubic feet of luggage. Meanwhile, the G550 has space for up to 170 cubic feet of baggage.
The age difference between these aircraft becomes noticeable when evaluating their interiors.
For reference, deliveries of the G500 began in 2018, compared with deliveries of the G550 starting in 2003.
One of the most important differences between the interior of these two aircraft is their cabin altitude. A lower cabin altitude will result in a more pleasant cabin environment and reduce the effects of jet lag.
When both aircraft are cruising at 51,000 feet, the maximum cabin altitude of the G500 is just 4,850 feet. In comparison, the maximum cabin altitude of the G550 is 6,000 feet at the same altitude.
As with every Gulfstream, the G500 is wonderfully appointed. All the features you would expect on a long-range business aircraft are provided.
To begin with, the G500 has a tall and wide cabin which provides customers with greater design flexibility. For example, customers are presented with the option for a forward galley, rear gallery and a rear stateroom.
The tall and wide cabin provides lots of space for strolling down the wide aisle. All-new seats have been designed for maximum comfort.
100% fresh air, a maximum cabin altitude of 4,850 feet, and a cabin noise level of 50 decibels provide a peaceful environment. This environment is lit by fourteen signature Gulfstream oval windows. Combined, these windows provide an abundance of natural light and sweeping views of the world below. Adding these factors together ensures that you arrive at your destination refreshed and with minimal jet lag.
Gulfstream’s Cabin Management System allows passengers to control lighting, temperature, and media right from their seats. The seats are able to be converted to lie-flat beds. Therefore, the G500 is a great space to work, dine and relax.
The G550 is efficient with its use of space with a total cabin length of 15.27 metres (50 ft 1 in), width of 2.13 metres (7 ft) and a cabin height of 1.83 metres (6 ft), totalling a cabin volume of 47.26 cubic metres (1,669 cubic feet).
With all this space the G550 is able to carry up to 19 passengers (dependent upon the configuration) and sleep up to eight passengers. 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 help 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, Iridium 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 minimise 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 estimated hourly price is relatively similar. 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 G500 is $7,350 .
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.
And finally, how much does each aircraft cost to buy?
The Gulfstream G500 has a new list price of $45 million. In comparison the Gulfstream G550 has a new list price of $62 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 two year old G500 will set you back $42 million.
Therefore, the G500 will see a 93% retention of value over the same time period.
In comparison, a two year old G550 is estimated to cost $40 million.
This, therefore, results in the G550 will see a 65% retention of value over the same time period.
Of course, this is hardly surprising given that the G550 is going out of production in 2021.
The conclusion of this comparison will not being coming as a surprise.
The G500 is the aircraft to choose over the G550.
The G500 is newer, faster and has a more modern interior. Additionally, the G500 holds its value better and costs roughly the same to charter per hour.
However, what is impressive is the fact that the G550 has been around for nearly 20 years and can still compete with the latest and greatest aircraft.