- Private jet operators are preparing for an influx of new flyers as they believe the wealthy will seek to avoid commercial air travel.
- CEOs from VistaJet and Flexjet are building their fleets with new, ultra-long-range aircraft from Bombardier and Gulfstream that will help draw customers away from airlines.
- The Bombardier Global 7500 and Gulfstream G700 are the latest aircraft to be introduced by the leading manufacturers, offering the greatest ranges and capacity of any wide-cabin private jet.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The novel coronavirus has undoubtedly soured the travelling public on commercial air travel as concerns of proximity spread while onboard aircraft have, in part, caused the mass cancellations of bookings and grounded thousands of airliners.
While that’s bad news for the airlines, private jet charter operators are already planning for a post-pandemic boom in their industry and taking advantage of the newest jets to do so.
The three largest wide-cabin private jet manufacturers – Gulfstream, Dassault, and Bombardier – have been perfecting their craft for years and have recently debuted or announced jets that push the limits of what was thought to be possible in the field.
Two aircraft in particular, the Bombardier Global Express 7500 and Gulfstream G700, have caught the attention of the world’s largest private jet charter firms. Cross-border rivals Gulfstream and Bombardier have been one-upping each other since the 1990s when the latter entered the scene with its long-range Global Express.
As the two have consistently advanced aviation technology, their jets have grown bigger while also able to fly more people further than ever before.
Malta-based VistaJet is one of the undisputed leaders in private aviation with its fleet of Bombardier Challenger and Global Express aircraft.
Founded by CEO Thomas Flohr, the company sought to standardize global private jet charter and become a household brand in an industry with thousands of small operators all clamoring for a piece of the pie.
Its newest arrival is the Bombardier Global Express 7500, one of the newest long-range private jets currently roaming the skies with its first delivery to a customer in December 2018.
VistaJet took delivery of its first 7500 in January 2020 with plans to take delivery of up to six of the type.
“The 7,500 is a game-changer,” Flohr said in an interview with Business Insider. “I think that that aeroplane really allows us to connect continents at high speed and ultra-long-range.”
Boasting an interior that’s 54.5 feet in length, over 10 feet longer than its Global 6000 predecessor, the jet is extremely customisable and ideal for long-haul flying.
Vista’s configuration divides the cabin up into five areas from the forward galley to a private bedroom in the back of the plane.
The interior begins at the forward galley, where the meals, drinks, and snacks are prepared. Ovens and microwaves can be installed to cook gourmet meals, especially ideal on long flights.
Opposite the workstation, operators can decide if they want a couch to carry additional passengers or a crew rest suite that can be fitted with bunk-beds.
Behind the forward galley are the main seating areas, starting with the club suite featuring four club seats that face each other. Each pair has its own retractable table.
Directly behind the club suite area is the conference suite/dining area, featuring six club seats with three on each side. Unlike similar setups of two pairs of seats on each side of a table, the two rows of seats alternate with one on one side and two on the other.
Although the two tables are divided by the aisle, a centrepiece can be added to connect the two during meetings or meals. Though, it does block off the aisle and restrict movement.
The rear two sections of the aircraft are more private compartments that are closed off from the forward seating areas. The first one behind the conference suite is the entertainment suite featuring a three-person divan and wide-screen high-definition television, resembling a living room.
And finally, the bedroom completes the interior featuring a dedicated queen-size bed with a wardrobe underneath.
Adjacent to the bed is a single club seat and table that acts as a workstation. The en suite lavatory is located behind the bedroom with customers having the option to install a shower.
With a stated range of 7,700 nautical miles, intercontinental travel is seamless for the jet, though it falls short of the 8,285-nautical mile range required to fly the Newark-Singapore nonstop route currently operated by Singapore Airlines.
City pairs like New York-Beijing, Dallas-Sydney, and Paris-Honolulu, however, are all within reach.
While Vista is currently welcoming in the Global 7500, Ohio-based Flexjet is preparing to be the American launch customer of the Gulfstream G700.
The G700 is currently in production at Gulfstream’s Savannah, Georgia headquarters. Scheduled for delivery to Flexjet in 2022, it will become the new flagship of the iconic manufacturer, a subsidiary of General Dynamics.
It’s slightly longer than the Global 7500 at 56 feet and 11 inches, allowing to offer a lot of the same customizability in terms of configuration.
Gulfstream claims the aircraft can seat up to 19 passengers in its highest density configuration. Private owners of the type may opt for the master bedroom while charter operators may prefer a higher density configuration to seat more customers.
One configuration includes five living compartments starting with four pairs of club seats in the front of the aircraft facing each other, with each pair having its own table retractable from the cabin wall.
Behind the eight club seats is the living room-style area with a three-piece divan facing a wide-screen, high-definition screen.
The dining area then features four seats around a large table, ideal for eating the main meals or hosting conferences.
The rear of the aircraft can then act as the bedroom, with a full-size adjustable bed and adjacent club seat and workspace.
If a bedroom isn’t desired by the customer, two three-person divans can be installed instead for additional capacity. The master lavatory is behind the bedroom with the G700 offering a shower option.
“The G700 is an incredible aircraft,” Flexjet CEO Michael Silvestro told Business Insider in an interview. “The ability to circumvent the globe in one stop in that kind of efficiency and luxury is really exactly who we are and where we’re taking our program.”
While the interiors of the two aircraft are similar, the Global 7500 beats Gulfstream in range by 200 nautical miles, the latter only offering 7,500 nautical miles of range.
The G700 does, however, offer the longest range of any Gulfstream aircraft. While it’s on par with the smaller G650ER, the G700 is around 10 feet longer than its older sibling.
The new Gulfstream flagship also bests the Global 7500 in width and height by inches. The G700 comes in at six feet and three inches tall and eight feet and two inches wide.
Bombardier’s new flagship, in comparison, stands at six feet and two inches tall and eight feet wide.
Both jets are still incredibly fast, able to fly maximum speeds of Mach .925, just shy of the speed of sound.
The vast ranges, high speeds, and customisable configurations of the aircraft provide the wealthy with flying apartments that serve as safer alternates to commercial travel, especially as the duo can fly nearly every route that a commercial aircraft can with increased comfort, convenience, and luxury.
While smaller jets may require inconvenient fuel stops on ultra-long-haul routes, the newest flagships from Bombardier and Gulfstream can traverse numerous time zones better than most that came before.
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