By Beatrice Thomas
Gulfstream G650 cots $65m to buy but there is currently a three year waiting list
Wealthy Middle East travellers waiting to buy a Gulfstream G650 long-range jet, regarded as the world's fastest private jet, have been urged to try a private charter service with the aircraft now available for exclusive flights to Europe.
The $65m jet has a three year waiting list, with only about 40 G650s delivered since its launch last year and another 160 plus buyers in line.
However, the charter company PrivateFly.com said the aircraft was attracting a charter premium at the moment, with availability also limited.
“As the new Europe-based G650 is based in Geneva, it would need to be positioned out to Dubai for an itinerary starting there,” a spokeswoman for PrivateFly.com told Arabian Business.
“There are four other G650s available for charter, based elsewhere in the world. None are based in the Middle East - two are in the USA, one in Japan and one in New Zealand.”
The spokeswoman confirmed that prices for a two-night return included: Dubai - New York - Dubai - €224,000 ($310,767); Dubai - London - Dubai - €162,000 ($224,751); Dubai - Riyadh - Dubai - €88,000 ($122,087) and Dubai - Mumbai - Dubai - €111,000 ($153,996).
She said that in the charter market it expected the G650 to be “very popular in the Middle East as more availability opens up”.
“Larger aircraft with a high status profile do have strong appeal in the region,” she said.
Last month the aircraft, which has a high-tech luxury interior with full bar and kitchen and room for up to 18 passengers, broke the city pair speed record for New York to Mumbai, making the 6,754 nm trip in 13 hours and 49 minutes.
PrivateFly’s CEO Adam Twidell said: “The G650 is creating enormous interest and is the ultimate VIP status symbol, with some very high profile buyers waiting in line to own one. It’s in such demand that some have been flipping their jets – trading places in the queue or selling on immediately for a profit – reportedly for as much as $10m.”
“The first European-based G650 has now become available for third party charter, from an operator in our network, based in Switzerland. And there are just a further four charter aircraft based elsewhere in the world, including film director Peter Jackson’s - which is also available to hire - based in Wellington, New Zealand.”
He added: “These days the majority of private jet customers choose to charter, rather than buy. Owning a jet is a huge financial commitment. For the G650’s $65m price tag alone, you could charter almost 400 return trips from London to Dubai. And that’s without taking into account the several million dollars each year in running costs, such as maintenance, fuel, insurance and crew.
“Chartering is also about flexibility. While the G650 can’t be beaten over longer distances, it isn’t usually the best option for a shorter journey. Bernie Ecclestone sold his just weeks after he received it, saying it was too big to land at some of his favourite airports.”