The Gulfstream G550 is a heavy, long range business jet that received its FAA type certificate in 2003. It is sometimes also known as the GV-SP. Over 550 have been produced, including the Gulfstream G500 which has a lower fuel capacity and reduced range. The G550 replaced the Gulfstream V, and has improved aerodynamics leading to an increased range and fuel efficiency. It is the most successful model in Gulfstream history.
Depending on its configuration, the G550 can transport up to 19 passengers or can have sleeping for 8 people. There are options to have up to four distinct living areas, including a dedicated crew rest area, a private stateroom, conference area and entertainment space
The cabin has 14 Gulfstream signature oval windows, providing plenty of natural light along its 43 ft 11 in (13.39m) length, and the low-altitude cabin pressure helps to keep passengers refreshed during their journey. The cabin height is 6 ft 2 in and the width is 7 ft 4 in, while there is 170 cu ft (4.81 cu m) of baggage space.
With a top speed of mach 0.885, and a high speed cruise of mach 0.85, the G550 has set more than 50 city-pair speed records. It can fly 6,750 nautical miles (12,501 kilometers) nonstop, meaning city pairs such as Shanghai to Los Angeles, New York to Dubai or London to Tokyo or to Los Angeles are all possible. An example range map is shown below, starting from Teterboro (TEB).
The plane is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 engines, while the cockpit has a PlaneView flight deck with a Head-Up Display (HUD) and Enhanced Vision System (EVS) to improve the pilot's situational awareness.
The takeoff distance (MTOW) is 5,910 ft (1,801 m) and the landing distance (MLW) is 2,770 ft (844 m).
The list price of a new G550 is currently about $61.5m depending on the configuration, and it's worth negotiating for discounts from this list pricing. Average asking prices for one built in 2005-2006, is in the range $18m to $21m. Newer models that are 5 to 6 years old, 2012 to 2013 vintage, are typically in the range of $28m to $31m. Prices on preowned G550s vary depending on the total airframe and engine hours, maintenance, record keeping and overall condition.
Operating Cost Summaries
The table below shows the "Direct Mission Costs" for typical missions of 1,000 nm, 3,000 nm and 6,000 nm. Of particular note, the fuel consumption varies significantly between take-off and cruise. On the other hand, longer missions require much more fuel on board, so take-off weight is much higher, requiring a higher fuel burn. The table includes a bundling of fuel consumed, maintenance labor, parts and reserve costs (Variable Costs), apportioned to the actual flight time for the mission length. The fuel price used for this analysis is based on an average price of $5.00 per gallon, and the flights are assumed to have 8 passengers and 4 crew. The fuel consumption figure accounts for taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, and landing.
|Range||Flight Time||Cost||Cost per nm|
|Total Variable Costs (1,000nm mission)||2 hr 20 min||$8,945||$8.94|
|Total Variable Costs (3,000nm mission)||6 hr 42 min||$25,252||$8.42|
|Total Variable Costs (6,000nm mission)||13 hr 15 min||$52,041||$8.67|
Annual Fixed Costs
These costs must be borne by a flight department irrespective of the level of aircraft utilization. Included in here are salaries for flight crew, annual training, hull insurance cost computed by multiplying a liability factor per $100 of hull insurance; and liability insurance based on $25m in coverage.
|Cabin Crew Salary||$120,000|
|Director of Maintenance Salary||$195,500|
|Crew Recurrent Training||$79,420|
|Cabin Crew Recurrent Training||$3,705|
|Director of Maintenance Recurrent Training||$13,460|
|Hangar / Office||$108,616|
The other fixed costs are for cockpit subscription services, which consist of the following items.
|Charts & Maps||$2,560|
|Total Cockpit Costs||$83,224|
Variable Costs (Per Flight Hour)
These expenses are directly related to the operation of the aircraft and are represented as an hourly cost figure. Included are Fuel Expense, Maintenance Labor Expense, Parts Expense, Engine, Avionics and APU reserves expenses. The basis for the figures reported is actual operator experience compiled by AirPower Software. Parts, labor, and reserves are predicated on the assumption that the aircraft is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
The fuel costs assume a price per gallon of $5.00 and an average fuel consumption of 358 gallons per hour.
|Airframe Sys. Parts & Labor||$782|
|Avionics Protection Program||$130|
Annual Variable Costs
There are two sets of additional costs that vary based on usage, these are the "Annual Cabin Services Cost", shown below.
|Cabin / Iridium Phone||$2,947|
|Total Cabin Costs||$62,148|
And, the "Annual Trip Support Cost", which includes onboard catering, commercial flights for the flight crew, ground handling and landing/parking fees when the aircraft is away from its home airport.
|Flight Crew Travel||$42,800|
|International Trip Support||$32,100|
|Landing / Parking Fees||$42,800|
|Total Other Trip Costs||$214,400|
Annual Costs Summary
Assuming that the aircraft is used for 400 hours per year, then the total annual costs of operation will be:
|Total Annual Fixed Costs||$960,554|
|Total Annual Cockpit Subscription Services Costs||$83,224|
|Total Owner Annual Variable Cost||$1,534,000|
|Total Annual Cabin Services Costs||$62,148|
|Total Annual Trip Support Costs||$214,400|
|Grand Total Owner Flown Annual Expenses||$2,854,326|
|Owner Cost per Flight Hour||$7,135|
In summary, the total annual cost for the G550 will be $2,853,926 and the cost per flight hour, for the 400 hours the owner uses the aircraft, comes out to $7,135.
Note the above calculations do not include any figures for depreciation or for any financing charges, which may be a factor.
These numbers are courtesy of AirPower Software Group, Inc. Their tool, AircraftBudgetAnalyzer, lets you fully customize these operating costs to model your own usage and requirements. They also offer a free demo of the aircraft costing platform.