Gulfstream G-IV/300/400 and G-V/500 series aircraft operate in over 30 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. Fleets of five or more examples are not uncommon, in the hands of operators such as G5 Executive, DC Aviation, NetJets, Saudi Arabian, National Air Services, Jet Aviation and JetClub Aircharter.
EBAN readers reporting on the Gulfstream IV and IV-SP are all very satisfied with the aircraft's operating capabilities, and European operators are also very satisfied with the available maintenance support. One Middle East owner, however, unhappily points out that certified repair stations and available parts in that region remain scarce.
The worst aspects of the G-IV series are, they say, high operating costs, lack of forward galley layout options in order to separate passengers from crew service activities, and the need for some systems to be updated.
The long range and large cabin space are universally applauded, while one reader also praises the aircraft and its engines for reliability, redundancies and good customer support. All operators are wedded to the Gulfstream brand, and when asked what the most desirable upgrade would be they wish variously for a G-V, a G450 or a G550!
Moving on to the G-V/G500/G550, again all respondents to our survey say they are very satisfied with the operating capabilities and dispatch reliability. "We get good support from Gulfstream tech ops and product support [with genuine AOG issues]," said one. However the picture is less good for both value and routine maintenance, with readers divided between satisfied and very satisfied. "Gulfstream parts and subscriptions are very expensive," a respondent says.
A good measure of the high esteem EBAN readers have for the G-V and successors is that one respondent to our survey, when asked about the worst aspect of the aircraft, simply replied: "I can't think of anything!" Others found minor issues with the pressurisation system and with the cockpit noise level on long range flights.
Range, speed, power, reliability and flexibility were all mentioned as the best aspects of the aircraft. "The comfort factor is top class, the wide body, wide aisle all contributes to the most comfortable corporate aircraft," added one G550 operator.
When asked about the most desirable upgrades operators mention Cat III capability and autobrakes for the G-V, and upgraded DU-885 display units - although the cost is "high". One G550 operator has his sights set higher, by simply upgrading to a G650.
As Gulfstream points out there are aircraft that are in production, such as the G450 and the G550, and those no longer in production, such as the G-V, and manufacturers have to listen, and respond to feedback from both.
Gulfstream, made aware of suggestions for improvements from EBAN readers, responded: "We are producing more forward galley G550s than aft galley versions. There are continuous improvements in the avionics suite in the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics, we have added SV-PFD as an option in the current in-production large-cabin aircraft and it will be standard in the G650. We have upgraded the EVS and some features we are looking at for the G650, both cockpit and cabin, will be retrofittable to current in-production aircraft."