The sky is not the limit – the highest altitude passenger planes

High altitude operations ensure less congested flight paths and better performance for passenger aircraft. Aerospace-technology.com lists 10 of the world’s best high altitude passenger airplanes.


Bombardier Global 700

Citation X

The Citation X is a mid-size passenger aircraft produced by Cessna Aircraft, a Textron company. The ability to reach a maximum altitude of 51,000ft makes it one of the world's highest altitude passenger planes.

The first Citation X prototype completed its maiden flight in December1993, while the latest version made first flight in January 2012. The flight deck of the Citation X integrates a Garmin G5000 avionics suite.

Two Rolls-Royce AE3007C2 turbo fan engines powering the aircraft provide a maximum speed of Mach 0.935 and a range of 6,004km.

Gulfstream G550

The G550 is an ultra-long-range business jet with a maximum operating altitude of 51,000ft. Its cabin maintains the pressure equivalent to altitudes ranging between 4,000ft and 6,000ft creating comfortable environment for crew and passengers.

The G550 is manufactured by General Dynamics' Gulfstream Aerospace and was introduced into the market in 2003. The aircraft is fitted with Gulfstream PlaneView avionics suite for operations in low-visibility meteorological conditions.

The business jet integrates two Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engines ensuring a range of 12,501km at Mach 0.80 and a top cruise speed of Mach 0.87.

Gulfstream G650

The Gulfstream G650, with a maximum cruise ceiling of 51,000ft, is one of the highest altitude passenger planes in the world. It is the largest and fastest business jet built by Gulfstream Aerospace.

The Gulfstream G650 was released into the market in 2008. The aircraft carries a typical load of four crew and eight passengers in pressurised environment equivalent to altitudes ranging from 3,200ft to 4,850ft.

Two Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, each with a rated power output of 75.2kN, ensure a high cruise speed of Mach 0.925 and maximum range of 12,964km.

Learjet 75

The Learjet 75 business jet, with a maximum operating ceiling of 51,000ft, is one of the highest altitude passenger planes available. The aircraft is manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace.

The Learjet 75 avoids delays due to congestion at low altitudes by flying at over-the-weather altitudes. Its Vision flight deck further enhances the navigation and communication capabilities.

The two Honeywell engines fitted to the aircraft produce enough thrust to carry eight passengers and provide a top cruise speed of Mach 0.81.

Learjet 70

The Learjet 70 passenger aircraft from Bombardier Aerospace has a maximum operating altitude of 51,000ft. The initial cruise ceiling of the aircraft is 45,000ft.

The business jet carries six passengers at high speeds and is equipped with industry-leading avionics, innovative cabin management system, and sophisticated communications.

The Learjet 70 is powered by two Honeywell TFE731-40BR engines that ensure high-cruise speed of Mach 0.81.

Learjet 60 XR

The Bombardier Learjet 60 XR not only has a maximum operating altitude of 51,000ft but also offers class-leading time-to-climb performance.

The aircraft features a next-generation flight deck with a Rockwell Collins Pro Line avionics suite and elegantly redesigned cabin space. The business jet can carry four passengers up to a range of 4,454km.

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW305A turbofans, the Learjet 60 XR can cruise at a maximum speed of Mach 0.81.

Bombardier Global 5000

The Global 5000 business jet developed by Bombardier has a maximum operating altitude of 51,000ft, while its initial cruise altitude is 41,000ft.

The Global 5000 made is first flight in March 2003. The aircraft features a Bombardier Vision flight deck incorporating Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, datalink, and SATCOM, Inmarsat and Iridium communication capabilities.

The aircraft can carry two to three crew and up to 19 passengers. Two Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 turbofans enable the Global 5000 cruise at speeds up to Mach 0.88 and to a maximum range of 9,630km.

Bombardier Global 6000

Bombardier Global 6000 business jet has an initial cruising altitude of 41,000ft with maximum take-off weight and can fly at a maximum operating altitude of 51,000ft.

The business jet was revealed in October 2003 and entered into service in 2006. It incorporates a state-of-the-art flight deck and a spacious cabin with aft stateroom. It can carry two to four crew and up to 19 passengers, or a maximum payload of 2,617kg.

Two Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 turbofans developing a thrust of 65.6kN provide a maximum speed of Mach 0.88 to the aircraft.

Bombardier Global 7000

The Global 7000 is yet another of Bombardier's high altitude aircraft offering a maximum operating altitude of 51,000ft. Its initial cruising altitude after maximum take-off weight (MTOW) departure is 43,000ft.

The aircraft features a unique four-zone cabin offering greater comfort for passengers. It accommodates a maximum of 19 passengers and can transport 10 people for 13,520km at a speed of Mach 0.85.

The Global 7000 integrates GE Passport 20 propulsion system generating a thrust of 73.4kN. The power-plant ensures a maximum speed of Mach 0.90.

Bombardier Global 8000

Like the 700, the Bombardier Global 8000 business jet can also reach a maximum altitude of 51,000ft and has an initial cruise altitude of 43,000ft.

The Global 8000 features a spacious cabin which is biggest in its class. It also integrates advanced avionics and latest navigation and communication systems. The aircraft can accommodate two to four crew and up to 19 passengers.

The GE Passport 20 high-efficiency engines provide a maximum speed of Mach 0.90 while offering low fuel burn and low emissions.

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