EBACE 2014: Long range jets race to fly further

EBACE 2014 (the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition) took place 21-23 May in Geneva. This is the biggest gathering of our industry in Europe and some our team spent a great couple of days there meeting aircraft operators, suppliers and other industry colleagues – learning and sharing views about latest developments.

But when it comes down to it, it’s all about the aircraft. The stunning, static display at Geneva Airport is always one of the show’s biggest draws, with 55 aircraft on display this year.

Then there are the new aircraft announcements. There is always a real sense of expectation, every year at EBACE, as to which new aircraft will be unveiled. It’s where manufacturers of private jet aircraft usually reveal their new plans, to generate the maximum headlines.

This year there was a big focus on the long range jets, an aircraft category that’s growing in Europe. Both Gulfstream and Dassault announced new long range aircraft variants – aircraft which are expanding the category of the ultra long range jets – and pushing the boundaries of how far you can fly without a fuel stop.

The new Gulfstream G650ER

Gulfstream G650

Gulfstream’s G650 is the flagship private jet for those looking to fly long range and now they have announced its new iteration, the G650ER. This is capable of flying 7,500 nm without a fuel stop, further and faster than any other business jet aircraft (the original G650 flies 7,000 nm). They have managed to increase the range by enlarging the fuel tanks and increasing the aircraft’s payload.

It’s been suspected for some time that this announcement was coming, after Gulfstream performed some record-breaking flights on the G650 in March. So it’s no surprise to learn that the G650ER is already in development and flight testing, and is aiming for FAA certification later this year, with entry into the market in 2015.

G650 at EBACE

Early next year, existing G650 customers on the waiting list will have the option of upgrading their order to a G650ER.

The new maximum range will open up routes which are currently outside of the capabilities of a single flight, such as New York to Hong Kong; or San Francisco to Delhi.

The Dassault Falcon 8X

Dassault Falcon 8XIn another announcement that was much-anticipated, French manufacturer Dassault unveiled its new flagship Falcon 8X.

The long range tri-jet has been three years in development and offers a non-stop range of 6,450nm, making its range 500nm further than its predecessor, the Falcon 7X. Dassault say the 8X will be 35% more fuel-efficient than any other long range jet, due to its innovative, high-thrust engines and enhanced wing design.

Falcon 8X interiorThe other notable feature of the 8X is the high level of customisation offered to buyers. More than 30 different configurations will be available, which means Dassault are well-placed to appeal to the charter segment, as well as private buyers. The aircraft is due to start deliveries in 2016.

Top 10 Leaders of European Business Aviation

In other news from the show, industry title Aviation Week announced their Top 10 Leaders of European Business Aviation. One of which was yours truly.

Their criteria was to highlight those who are “helping to create demand for business aviation through clever marketing and innovation”, so I’m delighted and proud to be included, especially in such strong company. You can read the full article at Aviation Week