Now that the Gulfstream G650 has been certificated
, I thought it was about time I returned to a post I’d written several months ago speculating on who would take delivery of the first aircraft.
When the G650 was originally released for sale, Gulfstream took the unusual step of having a first-come-first-served system, whereby potential customers had to fax letters of intent, along with a $500,000 deposit. Gulfstream then went through the list of respondents, in the order that the letters of intent / deposits were received, and converted those qualified into firm orders. Once the customers had signed the contract and increased the deposit to $3 million, Gulfstream then allocated them a delivery position.
This approach to sales angered long time Gulfstream clients, especially fleet operators, who were unable to get early delivery slots for all the aircraft they needed. It’s also thought that the G650 contract is worded in a way that prevents selling / swapping of slots to move higher up the waiting list, in an attempt to kill off the lucrative prospecting market.
But with a clever lawyer almost anything is possible, and anecdotal evidence on the internet suggests that much movement has been done up and down the list, as well as outright sales of aircraft. Dubai World are one client who are known to have sold off their two G650 slots completely.
The first Gulfstream numbers released suggested that Gulfstream had received 500 letters of intent, making the G650 one of the most, if not the, most successful business jet launch of all time. Since then several different figures have been mentioned, with analysts speculating that the actual figure stands somewhere around the 200 mark, and Gulfstream themselves recently stating that the figure is closer to 200.
It’s easy to guess some of the G650 customers. Regular Gulfstream customers are almost certain to appear on the list, although the NetJets Bombardier Global order probably takes them off.
Known customers so far include American institutions such as Disney
, Coca-Cola, NIKE, Visa, Johnson and Johnson, and Universal Jet Aviation. But Gulfstream stated that roughly 50% of customers are from outside the US, with some of these known to include Australian based AVWestPty, Hong Kong based Sky Peace, Greece’s GainJet and India’s Taj Air.
So who will get the first G650? Well, there are 60 G650s on the US register, but of course all of these are still currently registered to Gulfstream. 13 of these aircraft show as having registrations reserved against them, with the highest serial number to have a reservation being msn 6022. The FAA will only show a reservation when the aircraft will take up a US registration, but with Gulfstream stating that roughly half of the G650s will go to non US based clients, then it might be reasonable to suggest that those below msn 6022 that don’t currently have a reservation might be destined for overseas clients.
As of September 14th 2012 the FAA has the following showing as reservations:
|msn 6007, the future N711SW. Photo Courtesy of FlightAware.com
With the gaps being being serial numbers 6004, 6005, 6006, 6009, 6016, 6020 and 6021.
Serial number 6004 is registered N650GD and currently wears Gulfstream’s house colors, so it’s reasonable to assume that this aircraft will be used a a demo machine.
Serial number 6005 was last seen wearing primer performing test flights around the Savannah area in July, with it’s last recorded flight, using it’s registration, being an almost Australia shaped flight from Savannah to Savannah flight lasting 5 hours 40 minutes on July 18th.
Image copyright Flightaware.com
Serial number 6006 is for Airfix of Finland as OH-GVV
, with the aircraft having been spotted in Savannah during August already wearing the Airfix colours. As well as serial number 6006 Airfix will also receive a second G650 registered OH-GJA, although the msn for this aircraft is currently unknown.
|G650 msn 6006 wearing the colours of Finland’s Airfix Aviation.
Photo Courtesy of FlightAware.com
Serial number 6009 doesn’t appear to have been seen much, and hasn’t filed any flight plans using its registration. That’s not unusual for a new aircraft, with Gulfstream using the call sign ‘Gulftest’ and the flight code GLF regularly for test flights.
One of these aircraft will no doubt be the first aircraft to be delivered, with my money being on msn 6006. The only thing that is for sure at this stage is that now the G650 has been awarded its full type certificate then preparations for the first delivery will be well underway. And if the certification – first customer delivery sequence of the G550 is anything to go by, then it will be less than 3 weeks until the first aircraft is with its new owner.