As I sat down for a chat with executives from some of the top aircraft manufacturers, brokerage firms and charter companies, one thing that really became clear is that regardless of what type of client they represented or how large a budget they had, most corporate customers are looking for the same things when it comes to purchasing a jet. Taking into account that most business travelers are seeking long range, mid to heavy jets capable of increasing productivity on the go, we analyzed the top performers in the marketplace in order to determine the best of the best when it came to versatile jets that meet the needs of the traveling executive.
"I want an aircraft that can go anywhere" says Andrew Collins, President of Sentient Jets, "I don't want to have to stop". The top dog at one of the world's largest charter firms serves an excess of 4000 clients globally and has a pretty intimate understanding of what his clients are looking for.
Despite most companies hiring a trusted acquisition agent to help procure new jets, the decision makers in the boardroom like to have a certain amount of control over what they buy.
"It's like a kid going into a candy store and have a candy buyer. They (the decision maker) want to go buy their new toy or candy themselves" says Alexander Janus, Vice President at Global Jet Sales, one of the world's top acquisition agencies.
With so many mid to heavy jets on the market, and JamesEdition being an epicenter for acquisitions, we thought we'd break down the top five jets that companies should consider for business travel.
#5 - Embraer Lineage 1000E
With every detail of Embraer's Lineage lineup being meticulously crafted for comfort, the 1000E is capable of getting you from restrictive airports like New Jersey's Teterboro, direct to major international airports in cities like Moscow or Shanghai without having to worry about refueling. With an elegantly appointed cabin, Embraer refers to the Lineage as your "home away from home".
With five separate cabin zones and hundreds of layouts to choose from, the Lineage 1000E can be outfitted with everything from a dedicated bedroom to conference center or lounge. With a built-in phone, fax and printer, the Lineage is capable of ensuring productivity allowing you to remain in the office as you travel to your meetings. When rest is needed, the principal can take refuge in the well-appointed master suite, choosing to nap in a queen sized bed or a hot shower to refresh. Working from bed is always an option with wireless internet standard throughout the cabin. With an impressive track record in aviation, the Lineage 1000E is a perfect step up from smaller jets with shorter range.
#4 - Dassault Falcon 5X
Dassault Falcon 5X
The newest jet to hit their lineup, announced just a week ago at the NBAA conference in Las Vegas, the Falcon 5x is the largest, most advanced jet released by the company that became famous for its fighter planes.
Dassault Falcon 5X Cabin
Attempting to reinvent executive aviation, the Falcon 5x offers the latest in technological advancement and avionics. With the largest cabin height in the industry, this jet is ideal for tall people who previously had to duck just to walk around their cabin. At six feet, six inches high, with a wider cabin as well, this jet can be customized like the 7x to accommodate even the most discriminating client. Capable of seating eight passengers, it has the ability to fly Los Angeles to London nonstop, while exercising new technology aimed at giving you the softest possible landings and smoothest ride.
Dassault Falcon 5X Interior
Alexander Janus, the Vice President at Global Jet Sales is a huge fan of the Falcon lineup. "I've sold people Falcons who thought they were Gulfstream buyers" says Janus. He credits the Falcon, not only for its legacy, but also for providing the market with a far less ostentatious aircraft. "It has great ramp presence" he says.
The Falcon 5x is a perfect jet for those traveling alone or with a core team of people in a smaller space that still offers comfort and convenience.
#3 - Bombardier Global 8000
Bombardier Global 8000
Designed with the passenger in mind, the Global 8000 is a step up in both size and comfort. Focusing on both relaxation and productivity, Bombardier configured the Global 8000 in an effort to please a diverse clientele. An extension upon its other jets, the 8000 is the largest and most efficient plane in its lineup.
Backed by Bombardier's legacy in executive aviation, they've taken everything good about their Learjets, Challengers and other Globals and reworked it in a much larger space.
With an impressive range of 7,900nm and a capacity for seating 18 passengers, it has an expansive galley and a cozy aft stateroom in the quietest part of the cabin. One of the benefits is a remarkable new seating concept that makes every seat in the cabin berthable, allowing passengers to get much needed shut eye for those long trips home. For those workaholics, a dedicated office can shield you from the rest of the plane allowing you to focus on the tasks at hand and with a clearly defined crew area, the Global 8000 is ideal for companies with small teams who require a mobile office on the go.
#2 - Gulfstream G650
Having sold 65 new aircraft in just the first half of the year, Steve Cass, a Vice President with Gulfstream said that "customers are really looking for that ultra-long range jet capable of getting them to their destination in record time.
As the newest kid on the block, the G650 is akin to the classic American muscle car, built for speed, endurance and sustainability.
Capable of carrying up to eighteen passengers, the G650 is a rocket for executives in a hurry.
"No other jet can fly farther or faster than the G650" says Cass. Capable of reaching Mach 0.85 (562mph), the newest jet in the Gulfstream lineup can connect Shanghai to New York without having to stop in-between.
Designed from the inside out, the cabin of the G650 makes it one of the most beautiful and luxurious planes I've ever seen. Among its notable achievements is the versatility it offers with smooth takeoff and landings on shorter field lengths.
Ideal for long-range missions, the G650 combines power with elegance and is currently the most sought-after heavy jet on the market.
#1 - Boeing Business Jet
Boeing Business Jet
When it comes to executives wanting to travel across the planet in comfort, nothing beats the Boeing Business Jet.
While Gulfstream boasts the 7,000 mile range capability, and even Boeing Business Jets President Captain Steve Taylor lists Gulfstream among his favorite executive jet manufacturers, Capt. Taylor also says that "a 15+ hour mission is a long time to spend in that size of a tube". With almost every BBJ on the market having a dedicated bedroom, dining room and galley, they are capable of providing an exceptional level of comfort for the principal to relax and work so that upon arrival, he's ready to hit the ground running.
Boeing Business Jet Cabin
"When you talk about spending more than 12 hours on an airplane, the experience that the customer gets on a BBJ is remarkably different than on a traditional business jet" says Taylor.
While many are fooled into thinking that the cost of a BBJ is astronomically more expensive than that of other long-range jets, Capt. Taylor emphasizes that while the fuel burn might be more costly, the other operational costs of owning a BBJ are really only 20-30% more than that of a G650. When it comes to maintenance, the "components of the BBJ are more reliable and more affordable because it's based on a commercial airliner" states Capt. Taylor. On top of that, the actual purchase price isn't much higher either. With the delivery price of a G650 being around the $65m mark, to take home a completed BBJ is really only around $80m.
Boeing Business Jet Interior
On top of the added room, a BBJ is capable of carrying more than sixty passengers in multiple dedicated staffing areas so that they don't encroach on the principal.
Boeing Business Jet Meeting Space
While most companies don't have a need for such a heavy jet, it becomes ideal for those traveling with an entourage or large support staff. With the entire BBJ lineup capable of being completely customized, clients can opt for features in some aircraft such as a garage for their vehicle, separate living quarters, or even a disco club for entertainment.
Boeing Business Jet Office
As far as the super jet goes, Boeing has dominated the market with their only true competitor, Airbus, selling just one private plane to Boeing's nine.
Boeing Business Jet Stateroom
While it may not get you to your destination as quickly as the G650 or Falcon, it will certainly get you there in style and comfort.
By J.A. Shapira
(Special thank you to Captain Stephen Taylor, President at Boeing Business Jets; Steve Cass, Vice President at Gulfstream; Alexander Janus, Vice President at Global Jet Sales; Andrew Collins, President at Sentient Jet)
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