You could consider the Gulfstream G450 a victim of ageism. It has been a very capable and immensely popular business jet, but it got old, and now it’s getting replaced. This may seem an unfair fate, but as good as the G450 is, its successor, the clean-sheet-design G500, is much better—or at least it promises to be.
“The G500 is clearly vastly superior to the G450,” says Kevin O’Leary, president and CEO of Jet Advisors (jetadvisors.com), a private jet acquisition, brokerage, and consulting firm in Bedford, Massachusetts. “It’s faster and more fuel efficient. It has a much larger cabin with significantly larger windows. The cabin has a better pressurization system, which will keep the passenger more comfortable on longer trips. The prices are similar—the G500’s is a few percentage points higher—but you get so much more.”
The last of the G450s will roll off Gulfstream’s production line in Savannah, Georgia, in early 2018, ending a run of 14 years—32 years if you include the models from which it derived, the GIV and GIV-SP. The G500 is expected to enter service by the end of 2017.
The G500 is priced at $45.1 million. When the aircraft was still in production, a new G450 cost $43.15 million. The G500 has a maximum range of 5,754 miles; a cruising speed of 561 mph (versus 5,000 miles and 528 mph for the G450); and a maximum operating speed of 610 mph, which equals the top speed of Gulfstream’s flagship business jet, the G650/G650ER. The G500’s range covers the distance from Los Angeles to London, New York to Moscow, or San Francisco to Tokyo.
Although the interior can accommodate as many as 19 passengers, the more common configuration will be a three-zone layout with 12 or 13 passengers in a combination of reclining seats (some of which convert into sleeping berths) and couches. The cabin is customizable and can include lavatories forward and aft and a full-size galley forward or aft. Passengers can stay connected through satellite communications and various high-speed internet options. The cabin-management system gives passengers control of the lighting, window shades, temperature, and entertainment options through touchscreen devices.
Fractional provider Flexjet (flexjet.com) placed an order for several G500s three years ago—shortly after Gulfstream introduced the aircraft at a ceremony in Savannah—and will begin taking deliveries in early 2018 as the aircraft’s North American launch customer.