Super Mid-Sized Competition: Not So Much
When the Gulfstream G280 was certified, it was supposed to be a strong competitor to the then Bombardier Challenger 300 (C350 since 2014). The Gulfstream G280 received a major overhaul from the original Israeli Industries Galaxy, which was renamed the G200 after the purchase by Gulfstream. The G200 was reasonably successful as one of the first true super-mid aircraft. The G200 sold over 240 units until it was replaced by the G280.
The Challenger 300 (formerly named the Continental) was certified in 2004 and was a great success for Bombardier. Both fractional sales and sales to end users were tops in its category and eventually vying for top selling business jet. The C300 was a clean sheet designed aircraft that had the creature comforts of much larger jets but without the expense of those larger aircraft, the Challenger 300 offered a flat floor, double club seating and a true cross continental range.
The major overhaul of the Gulfstream 200 (G200) to create the Gulfstream 280 was supposed to a strong competitor in the super mid-sized category and even challenge the Challenger 300 for the top spot in the category. When compared to the Challenger 350, the Gulfstream 280 has more cabin volume, range, and baggage. Both aircraft are quite fast with trips speeds at the 300nm, 600nm and 1,000nm range as a virtual dead heat. The time to climb is also stout in both aircraft and again virtually the same. The take off field length for the Gulfstream 280 is marginally better than the Challenger 300 at Sea Level but the Challenger 300 is far superior at 5,000 ft. airport elevation.
The market has spoken on this competition and the Challenger 350 remains the undisputed champion of the category based on aircraft sales since 2014. According to JetNet, the Challenger 350 deliveries since 2014 has outpaced the G280 by over 240%. The Challenger 350 shows 214 units delivered since the start of 2014 while the Gulfstream 280 has shown just 87 over that same period. It is fair to consider the deliveries to fractional operators as an advantage for the Challenger 350, though those 72 units delivered to Net Jets and FlexJet would not have been so if the aircraft didn’t perform for the fractional companies. Even if the fleet sales were removed, the Challenger 350 still outsold the Gulfstream 280 by over 63%.
The numbers don’t, and the market has spoken, the Challenger 350 is the top selling mid-sized aircraft in the industry and one of the top selling jets in any category. The Challenger 350 has held off many competitors since its certification as the Challenger 300 in 2004. New competitors have entered the market and started gaining traction such as the Embraer Legacy 500 and the soon the Cessna Longitude will be certified and vying for the super mid-sized supremacy. As it stands today, the Challenger 350 remains at the top.