Flights of fancy: New Gulfstream that travels near the speed of sound is on sale for $58MILLION as luxury aircraft firms battle for super-wealthy customersJuly 5, 2019
There’s a bar in far Bombay — and for a mere $58 million (£46 million), now you can fly there in real style aboard the latest near-supersonic private jet.
The G600, aerospace firm Gulfstream’s latest move to conquer the lucrative private jet market, has just been approved for service by the US Federal Aviation Authority.
Flying at mach 0.9, the sumptuous craft can seat up to 19 passengers for journeys of 6,500 nautical miles — equivalent to London–Tokyo — before it needs to refuel.
The G600 private jet is the latest offering from the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a popular brand among the world’s oil tycoons, Saudi officials and other members of the super-wealthy.
The craft — which is 96 feet (29 metres) long and a wingspan almost as large — sports a mirrored bulkhead in its middle to reflect as much light as possible, while the vessel’s 14 28-inch-wide windows afford a panoramic view of the sky.
The plane is even designed to minimise jet lag, ensuring passengers feel fresher on reaching their destination.
On regular passenger airliners, the concentration of oxygen in the cabin decreases at higher altitudes, contributing to jet lag.
On the G600, however, the cabin pressure at the craft’s cruising altitude of 51,000 feet (15,500 metres) is equivalent to only 4,850 feet (1500 metres) and completely fresh air is cycled into the cabin every two minutes, minimising passenger tiredness.
‘The cabin is so quiet passengers can converse at normal voice levels even while in flight at near the speed of sound,’ Gulfstream wrote on their website.
‘The G600 interior is engineered to provide a relaxing journey that leaves travellers refreshed on arrival.’
For the discerning globetrotter, the G600 also comes with various interior customisation options.
Purchasers can pick between bamboo flooring or luxurious hand-woven carpets underfoot in the cabin, various cabin decor choices, and can opt to add granite flooring to their vessel’s bathrooms and galley.
Furthermore, owners can select whether they would prefer the galley to be located nearer the front or the rear of the craft, as well as choose to add an additional shower to the jet’s facilities.
The opulence of the G600 is not confined to the cabin, however.
The craft is one of the first civilian aircraft whose cockpit sport ten touchscreens to display information to the crew, along with so-called ‘active sidestick technology’ —controls that give the pilot and co-pilot tactile feedback on the craft’s flight.
‘This provides good situational awareness between the pilots — they can both see and feel their sidesticks moving,’ aerospace firm BAE Systems director Adam Taylor told Aviation Week
It is rumoured that General Dynamics is now developing a bigger and faster private aircraft to compete with Bombardier’s new offerings.
‘Gulfstream will make an announcement this year to remove any uncertainty that they’re going to go back to the top position,’ aviation data service JetNet consultant Rolland Vincent said.
The future aircraft is expected will fly ‘just a little further, a little faster and [be] a little bigger’.
With the super-wealthy craving more privacy and speed, the market for private jets is growing, especially in the UK and the US.
Although each G600 will take two-and-a-half years to progress from being commissioned to delivery, Gulfstream expects orders to be strong, especially in the US, which presently owns 60 per cent of the world’s private jet fleet.
Developed in 2014, the move now to roll-out of the G600 is the latest in Gulfstream owner General Dynamics’ efforts to dominate the business and private jet market.
The G600’s slight larger stablemate, the Gulfstream G650, had enjoyed a six-year reign as the world’s biggest, most popular and longest-range private aircraft — one capable of flying 7,500 nautical miles in one journey.
The supremacy of the G650 was superseded in December 2018, however, when rival aerospace company Bombardier launched its larger and longer-range Global 7500 and 8000 jets, prompting many private jet owners to trade upwards.