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.

Gulfstream G550

Cabin

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.

Gulfstream G550

Specs

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.

Gulfstream G550 range map

The takeoff distance (MTOW) is 5,910 ft (1,801 m) and the landing distance (MLW) is 2,770 ft (844 m).

Acquisition Prices

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.

 Item  Cost 
 Crew Salaries  $363,625 
 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 
 Hull Insurance  $52,820 
 Liability Insurance  $23,408 
 Hangar / Office  $108,616 
  Total  $960,554

The other fixed costs are for cockpit subscription services, which consist of the following items.

 Item  Cost 
 Nav Database  $58,311 
 EGPWS/TAWS Database  $7,310 
 Flight Planning  $13,580 
 Wx Services  $1,463 
 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.

 Item  Cost 
 Fuel Expense  $1,790 
 Airframe Sys. Parts & Labor  $782 
 Engine Reserves  $1,081 
 APU Reserves  $52 
 Avionics Protection Program  $130 
  Total  $3,835 

Annual Variable Costs

There are two sets of additional costs that vary based on usage, these are the "Annual Cabin Services Cost", shown below.

 Item  Cost 
 Broadband  $48,070 
 Sat TV  $11,131 
 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.

 Item  Cost 
 Catering Service  $64,200 
 Flight Crew Travel  $42,800 
 International Trip Support  $32,100 
 Concierge  $10,700 
 Ground Handling  $21,400 
 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:

 Item  Cost 
 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.