Gulfstream, Dassault In Range War

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Geneva isn't exactly the Wild West but the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) is witnessing a range war. Dassault and Gulfstream both introduced longer-legged versions of their flagship aircraft at the show, which continues until Thursday at the PalExpo convention facility at the Geneva Airport. Gulfstream says its G650ER (extended range) will go 500 miles farther on a tank of gas than its already capable predecessor. "It's the only business aircraft in the world capable of traveling 7,500 nautical miles," Gulfstream VP Scott Neal said in a written statement. Dassault says its new Falcon 8X will go from Moscow to London and have "the highest level of customization" of the large-cabin crowd.

The announcements highlight the well-established fact that the high end of the bizjet market is robust and growing and the very rich want as much capability as the engineers can squeeze out of the airframes. Gulfstream says its extra range comes from improvements to the 650's Rolls Royce engines. Dassault is putting a more efficient wing and improved Pratt & Whitney Canada engines on the 8X to make it "more fuel efficient than any other aircraft in the ultra-long range segment" by 35 percent. The Gulfstream will cost $65.5 million and the Falcon $57 million.