Gulfstream is angling to reclaim bragging rights as builder of the world’s biggest private jet, and has chalked up Qatar Executive – the charter service arm of Qatar Airways – as prestigious launch customer for its new G700 flagship.
Due to debut in 2022, the G700 will be capable of flying 7,500 nautical miles and cruise at just under the speed of sound. It will be a roomier version of the G650, which was unseated last year as the largest luxury jet by Bombardier's Global 7500.
At an industry conference Monday in Las Vegas, Gulfstream President Mark Burns said the G700 has “the tallest, widest, longest cabin in our industry.”
The G700's configuration options include an extra-large 'ultragalley' with lounge or crew compartment, up to five living areas and a large, bespoke master bedroom with en suite master bath.
The aircraft also features a new Gulfstream-developed "revolutionary circadian lighting system" which the jetmaker says can recreate sunrise and sunset across time zones.
Qatar Airways has ordered 10 G700s, on top of recently-announced orders for the extra-wide cabin Gulfstream G500; the Doha-based charter operation is also the world’s largest owner-operator of the ultra long-range G650ER business jet.
“We are excited to be the launch customer of the G700, the largest business jet in the industry, and are looking forward to the aircraft joining our fleet,” said Qatar Airways CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker. “Qatar Executive’s customers have extremely high standards, and this aircraft will help us meet their requirements by delivering unrivaled performance that complements our excellence in customer service.”
Gulfstream is betting that the US$76 million G700 will entice the world’s wealthiest flyers with the bigger cabin and an upgraded range.
However, buyer unease is mounting in the luxury-jet market. A slowdown in orders could cause deliveries to begin flagging in 2021, according to a study by Honeywell International. While an array of new aircraft models is expected to boost shipments this year and next, longer-term threats are emerging from the U.S.-China trade war, the U.K.’s looming break from the European Union, and a shaky global economy.
Bombardier began deliveries of the Global 7500 in December, spurring speculation that Gulfstream would strike back with a larger plane. Bombardier’s jet, which came to market two years later than planned, was based on a new design.
“Global 7500 is the industry flagship. It’s a clean sheet design, built to perform like no other,” said David Coleal, president of Bombardier’s aviation unit. “Remember, anything else out there is just a stretch.”
The Bombardier plane has a range of 7,700 nautical miles and can fly as fast as Mach 0.925, or just less than the speed of sound. The US$73 million aircraft has a wingspan of 104 feet, and its 111-foot length gives it room for four distinct seating zones.
Gulfstream waited to announce its latest plane until it delivered two new, smaller jets – the G500 and G600. The G600 began shipments to customers in June and the G500 debuted about a year earlier. The models were introduced in 2014. The G650 debuted in 2012.
Additional reporting by David Flynn.