By Thomas Chatfield – CEO, Camber Aviation Management
In terms of performance, safety, comfort, and luxury, today’s corporate aviation market offer a wide selection of exceptional aircraft with an array of different attributes. This abundance of choice can be overwhelming for both aspiring and experienced corporate jet owners, as there are multiple parameters to consider before the final decision on what type of aircraft best suits your needs. This analysis will shed a light on key aspects between current and under-development purpose-built Business Jets and the ACJ and BBJ Bizliners.
Bombardier Global 7500
Dassault Falcon 10X
Boeing BBJ Max7
Boeing BBJ Max8
Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Source: Camber Aviation Management
From a passenger perspective, the size of the cabin is the main differentiator between each of these aircraft categories. While fuselage length determines the size and number of zones in an aircraft interior, it is the height and width of the cabin that determine which layouts are possible and how spacious an interior can be.
Business Jets have limited baggage volume if a full passenger load is carried (Gulfstreams for example have 195 ft³ of baggage space). Note that an average suitcase is 8 ft³ which equates to about 15 – 18 suitcases (the new Falcon 10X will have 200ft³ of baggage space). For Bizliners, representative baggage volume is determined by the number of auxiliary fuel tanks installed, which unless the absolute maximum number of tanks is installed, will easily exceed the baggage capacity of each of the Business Jets discussed in this report. For passengers who like to travel with all the comforts of home or enjoy shopping during the trip, a Bizliner may be the ideal solution.
Source: Camber Aviation Management
Business Jets in this category are designed to fly ultra-long distances at high speed with a long-range cruise of M0.85 and a high-cruise speed of M0.90 (the compromise for higher speed is, of course, lower fuel efficiency and reduced range). At long-range cruise, each of the Business Jets in this category flies well over 7,000nm. These jets are characterized by high cruise altitude (normally 51,000 feet), flying high above the weather, with a lower cabin altitude to make long-distance journeys less stressful on passengers and crew (generally below 5,000-foot cabin altitude).
Bizliners have similar flying characteristics, but with lower cruising speeds. At altitude and in long range cruise, the business jets in this article will cruise at approximately 60knots TAS faster than the bizliners, taking approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to complete a 5,000nm flight (9:45 versus 11:00 hours). However, it needs to be considered that while the ACJ and BBJ are somewhat slower, their cabins offer considerably more space in which to enjoy the flight. On an overnight flight it can be argued that a Bizliner gives the owner the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful dinner with their guests before having a good night’s sleep and a light breakfast before landing. Bizliners range, which can vary between 4,000nm and 7,000nm, is determined by the number of auxiliary fuel tanks installed in the lower cargo holds, but also the weight of the cabin. Aircraft interior design directly impacts range. Opting for a more spacious cabin design language will invariably reduce the number of monuments and, when combined with lightweight materials, lower overall cabin weight and increase range
With a Business Jet, a new owner purchases a “completed” or outfitted aircraft from Bombardier, Dassault, or Gulfstream, which means that each OEM offers the client the opportunity to select a predefined floorplan from a catalogue, after which the client can select options including communications and entertainment systems, as well as galley fitment. When you have decided which floorplan you prefer, you are presented with the selection of finishes and materials. This stage is conducted, generally, at the OEM design center, where seats, monuments and cabin cross-sections are on display together with leather, fabric, carpet, wood and stone veneers, carbon surfaces, along with different types of metal plating. For example, you can see how this is achieved remotely at the initial stage of the design if you visit the Bombardier configurator.
Exterior livery begins with a simple selection of speed stripes on a white fuselage; however, OEMs are willing to develop custom paint liveries unique to an individual aircraft at an additional cost.
Boeing BBJ 737 Max en route to outfitting
Source: Camber Aviation Management
In contrast to the Business Jet process, Bizliners are delivered “green” from the OEM. This means that the exterior is (generally) not painted with only has a green primer application. The interior is literally empty and ready for your design ideas. And while this gives you a clean sheet of paper and space to craft an aircraft absolutely down to the last detail in accordance with your needs, the outfitting process requires:
- A Completion Manager
- An Interior Designer, and
- A Completion Center
Green Airbus Single-Aisle Cabin
Source: Camber Aviation Management
Designing the optimum cabin requires a thorough understanding of client needs, cultural requirements, and expectations, which are then used to develop an initial floor plan which is then jointly refined between the client, designer, and completion manager until it is perfect. Material selections are made to ensure that finishes reflect the client’s sense of style and aesthetics. Cabin systems including communications, entertainment, lighting, and galley are defined and, together with the layout and materials are included in the detailed cabin specification. This extensive document is used to obtain quotes from preferred completion centers from which the preferred supplier is selected and the terms of the agreement, including costing and schedule, are negotiated.
The completion manager works closely with the designer and completion center, to transition design intent into a cabin that is comfortable, functional, and reliable, and then oversees the entire outfitting process to ensure that client expectations and quality standards are met.
Source: Camber Aviation Management
Clients purchasing a Business Jet cabin are limited to cabin layouts predefined and engineered by the OEM unless the client is willing to underwrite the not insignificant engineering and certification costs of a custom cabin. Business Jet layouts are inherently limited due to the physical width of the cabins. Generally, you can select from a combination of club seats, a four (or optional six) passenger conference/dining table, side facing divans, credenzas, sideledge tables, and, in this category of large-cabin Business Jets, the option of a private bedroom with either a fixed bed or a divan that converts into a bed.
There will be two lavatories onboard: one for crew and one for passengers, although when principal is using the private suite, the other passengers must use the forward (crew) lavatory. An optional shower is luxurious but small and takes away cabin space as the aft lavatory simply requires more space to accommodate the shower.
EXAMPLE OF G700 FLOORPLAN
Picture Source: GULFSTREAM
The Business Jet OEM will present to you several different solutions for every aspect of the cabin, which may include: Satellite communications system | Inflight entertainment | Galley style/size and capabilities | Heated wood or stone veneer floors | Upgrades flight deck avionics to increase operational capabilities
With a Bizliner, the layout of the cabin is not limited by OEM standard layout offerings, instead the cabin is bespoke – a unique design that fulfills the new owner’s requirements and reflects their senses of taste. Cabin design will reflect not only the mission length and number of passengers, but also the required number of sleeping positions, the meal service as well as spaces to relax, to meet, collaborate enjoy one another’s company. The spacious cabin is divided into customized zones to reflect owner expectations. There are generally three lavatories: crew, passengers and private suite. The crew also has an entirely separate rest area.
Acropolis Aviation’s Airbus ACJ320neo features a luxurious cabin designed by Yves Pickardt from Alberto Pinto and installed by leading completion specialist AMAC Aerospace.
Depending on client needs and missions, the interior may be fitted with:
- private suite with a large (queen or larger) fixed bed and ensuite bathroom (with shower or even a steam shower)
- main lounge
- private office
- sitting areas
- media room with large screen monitor and surround sound
- guest bedroom
- professional galley with multiple ovens, refrigeration, beverage makers and similar for your on-board chef
- crew rest area (for long-range missions)
Picture Source: Camber Aviation Management
The latest generation ACJ319neo and ACJ320neo entered service in the past two years, replacing the ACJ319ceo and ACJ320ceo aircraft. Neo refers to the “new engine option” replacing the ceo “classic engine option” CFM56 or V2500 engines with the CFM LEAP or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines. The BBJMax7 and BBJMax8 replace the BBJ1 and the BBJ2, respectively, swapping the CFM56 engines with the more fuel-efficient CFM LEAP engines. Both the Airbus neo and the Boeing Max aircraft offer lower fuel burn and, as a result, longer range with lower engine noise.
The purchase of a pre-owned previous generation ACJ319/320ceo or a BBJ1 or BBJ2 offers exceptional value and should be seriously considered by a prospective owner. These aircraft may be 10 – 20 years old, which is the equivalent to only two years of airliner service. Importantly, they have already been substantially depreciated. Both types are generally well taken care of and are often hangered, meaning that there is considerable life remaining in these aircraft. Buyers considering the acquisition of an ACJ319/320ceo or a BBJ1 or BBJ2 will need to consider that most aircraft in this category will need system upgrades and cabin refurbishment or, possibly, reconfiguration of the cabin to fulfill the owner’s requirements and sense of style.
Refurbishment of one of these aircraft is a cost- and time-effective alternative to the purchase of a brand-new green ACJ or BBJ that will require outfitting. The difference between a pre-owned and a new, latest generation ACJ or BBJ is characterized by a short time between purchase to entry into service (3 – 8 months versus 24+ months for new aircraft) with all-up costs less than 1/3 of the price of a new model ( the ultimate amount is dependent on the price of the aircraft and the extensiveness of the refit ). Done right, it will be difficult to tell a freshly (and properly) refurbished ACJ or BBJ from a newly outfitted aircraft. Fresh paint, a new cabin, an updated flight deck, and the latest technology SATCOM, IFE, and galley systems can give these aircraft a full new life.
There is a considerable difference between the purchase price of a Business Jet and a Bizliner, as the first is an aircraft configured to meet the owner’s requirements based on a limited number of layouts, systems, features, and finishes. The Business Jet owner selects their preferences, pays the negotiated purchase price, and receives the completed aircraft, ready to enter operations.
The owner of a new-build Bizliner takes acceptance of a green aircraft and begins with a “blank canvas” that requires the design and outfitting of the cabin, installation of various systems, and application of the exterior livery, to list the major but not all of the steps to prepare the aircraft for its entry-into-service. The Bizliner owner pays the OEM for the green aircraft and then must pay for the completion of the aircraft, which will include the designer, completion center, completion manager, and, potentially, other suppliers.
In the table below, the list prices of Business jets and green aircraft are provided together with budgets for the completion of the Bizliner models.
HYBRIDE MODEL | Airbus ACJ TwoTwenty
Picture Source : AIRBUS
Here Airbus has taken the best of the Business Jet and the Bizliner worlds combining a large airliner airframe with a modular approach to designing the interior. The catalogue offers new owners’ layouts and options that can be selected, which are pre-engineered to reduce costs and help the new owner decide. Configurator software is available on the ACJ website to allow potential owners (and interested parties) to “play” with the cabin layout Airbus has contracted with Comlux to exclusively outfit the ACJ220. Clients purchase the aircraft directly from Airbus with outfitting performed exclusively by Comlux. Based on the Airbus A220-100 aircraft which normally would carry 120 passengers, this cabin is configured to carry up to 19 passengers in comfort.
This analysis presents key attributes distinct to large-cabin business jets and the latest offerings by Airbus Corporate Jets and Boeing Business Jets. This comparison can help both present and future jet owners have a clearer understanding of these aircraft types. Of course, there are many more details that will need to be evaluated and considered before a potential buyer can decide which type is best fitted for them.
The best advice is to start with a thorough and thoughtful conversation with the different OEMs or with an independent corporate aircraft expert to identify the best possible solution: new or pre-owned, Business Jet or Bizliner. Only then can you decide on how and with whom you will work with for the entire purchase and outfitting or refurbishment process. This will help you determine whether you need a Business Jet or Bizliner, and both options are fine, as long they are right for you and your requirements.
Tom is a leader in aircraft completions and refurbishment management, and a corporate jet visionary with over 35 years of experience in the aviation industry. Tom is a trained avionics technician holding Transport Canada and EASA Aircraft Maintenance Engineer licences, with an MSc in Airline Transport Management from Cranfield University. He has held Part 145 and CAMO Postholder positions: managed operations, maintenance, and engineering departments; performed aircraft acceptances and lease returns; and recovered aircraft from challenging situations.
Tom manages a team of experts that supervise the complex process of transforming airliners into corporate jets – from selecting the right aircraft to cabin design, engineering, fabrication, and certification through to delivery. Camber Aviation Management and Tom’s passion is to innovate, pushing the barriers of what is possible in Large Cabin Jet completions, delivering the best aircraft, individually tailored to the requirements of Camber’s clientele.