A couple of recent Gulfstream G650 sales prompted some discussion in our office regarding Gulfstream G650 acquisition and sale decisions.

There are many reasons to buy an ultra-long-range private jet; some have to do with the real need to fly fourteen hours plus, non-stop (Gulfstream G650ER range) …and then we have the more personal and completely caché or ego-driven   “I want a G650”.

Both of these G650 acquisitions could have been viewed as meeting either or both of the above-suggested criteria. However, there is another somewhat bizarre and common thread to both of these G650 sales.

It would appear that the wingspan of the G650 (same for the G650ER) is a little too wide for access to certain airports. Leaving aside the obvious ‘local-only access‘ at small municipal airports and unpaved strips, there is one airport in particular that, surprisingly, is off-limits to the Gulfstream G650…Aspen Pitkin County Airport, previously known as Sardy Field.

Gulfstream G650 custom interior

By now the reader of this blog might be sensing what’s to come….the common thread to both these G650 sales is the fact that both owners have homes in Aspen and decided that the required one hour limo (or ten minute helicopter) commute from nearby Rifle airport in Colorado was too much to bear….hence the G650’s became ‘surplus to requirements’….go figure !

However, for one owner, this sale decision wasn’t finalized until all options had been exhausted for his G650 Aspen access. This owner apparently investigated the possibility of modifying the footprint of the winglet so as to bring the wingspan within allowable limits…a head-scratchingly ill-advised solution, given that Gulfstream has clearly spent millions and millions of dollars on R&D for that particular wing design.

Gulfstream was apparently aware of this vexing Aspen-access issue. However, it was assumed that the problem would quickly be resolved. Now it appears that a proposed solution won’t be available until around 2020…the problem is something to do with runway/taxiway proximity and thereby clearance between passing aircraft (hence the ingenious winglet-bending proposal).

The Gulfstream G650 is not welcome here !

The story doesn’t quite end there; one of the G650 owners decided to forgo his super-chariot for flights out to Aspen and bought himself a Gulfstream GIV…especially for those tricky little Aspen trips.
The other former G650 owner is fortunate enough to own a brace of Gulfstream G550’s that have replaced the (now-sold G650) on the very busy seasonal flights to snow country.

Finally there’s the matter of G650 selling prices…the newer of these two G650’s, a 2016 model, took a sales price hit in the multi-millions. The 2014/2015 model faired somewhat poorer with a ten-plus million dollar hit, compared to the original G650 acquisition cost.

In any event, those ‘lost’ private jet dollars would have bought an awful lot of limo rides and lift tickets, even at Aspen prices !

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