Gulfstream G700 Article
COVID-19 Pandemic and Business Jets
Not all sectors of the aviation industry have suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business jet ownership has become increasingly necessary as ever-changing government regulations, including restrictions on travel generally, have reduced the availability and ease of use of scheduled flights.
If anything, the pandemic has accelerated the demand for business jets. According to research and consulting company WINGX Advance, global business jet sectors were up 16% in 2022 compared to 2019 levels.1 In the United States, business jets now account for a quarter of all U.S. flights, roughly twice the pre-pandemic share.2 The reason for this is simple. Business leaders must ensure that the companies they’re responsible for continue to produce the goods and services that millions of people regularly rely upon, and business aircraft are one of the tools at their disposal to do this work more efficiently.
Gulfstream G700 Business Jet
Accordingly, there is a great deal of excitement towards new business aircraft entering the market, perhaps none more than for the new G700 aircraft, originally unveiled in 2019 and expected to be certified by the end of 2022. With its 31.39 meters wingspan and capacity to carry 19 passengers, this new business jet is Gulfstream flagship aircraft and is the largest yet, capable of competing with Bombardier’s Global 7500 which currently sits at the pinnacle of business aviation.3
New Software Validation Requirement
Until a couple of days ago, the G700 was on schedule to complete its new aircraft certification program by the end of 2022. Structural testing and flight tests – over 2,800 flights hours where the G700 performed impressively and set new speed records – had been completed, and engine certification was expected in the coming months.4
However, General Dynamics’ Chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic recently told investors and analysts that the timeline to obtain type certification for the G700 could be delayed due to a new software validation requirement being imposed by the FAA.5 Essentially, this requires Gulfstream to perform a line-by-line validation of the G700’s software. According to Mrs. Novakovic, this process is time and resource intensive, and presents a significant impediment to finishing the certification plan on time.