Comparatively low direct operating cost is another strong characteristic. One firm said that it charges back to users a cost per mile that's close to half that of a G550 it operates.
The aircraft has a rugged, semi-mono–coque aluminum airframe and relatively simple systems, not unlike those of a Learjet. The electrical system, for instance, is a 28-volt DC design. But it's powered by long-life brushless generators rather than starter-generators that require overhauling at 1,000 hr. Jet pumps transfer fuel from tank to tank and supply the engines. DC boost pumps supply pressure for starting. The hydraulic system powers the usual utility functions, such as landing gear, thrust reversers and wheel brakes. Unlike that on Learjets, the system also powers the Challenger 300's nosewheel steering and power control actuators for the rudder and elevators. Both aircraft have hydraulically actuated multifunction spoilers.
The Challenger 300 has a brake-by-wire system with carbon heat packs rated for 2,000 landings. That arrangement results in fewer shop visits for brake overhauls and more time in service. Pilots smile when discussing the aircraft's stopping performance, especially when compared to that of midsize legacy Learjets.
Runway performance, especially when departing hot-and-high airports, is another favorite with operators. The Challenger 300 has a large, 522-sq.-ft. wing and strong performing Honeywell HTF7000 turbofans. It needs only 4,810 ft. of runway when departing sea-level ISA airports and 6,860 ft. of pavement at BCA's 5,000-ft. elevation, ISA+20C airport. The APU may be used to pressurize the cabin to conserve engine thrust for maximum performance takeoffs from hot-and-high locations. Airport performance is second only to that of the sprightly Gulfstream G280.
Cabin size and passenger comfort rank high with operators. Overall cabin length is 23.7 ft. and the main seating area is 16.5 ft. long. The standard double club seating layout comfortably accommodates eight passengers. Some operators have chosen to swap out two facing chairs for the optional three-place divan to accommodate nine, except for landing and takeoff. For a ninth passenger, the aircraft must be equipped with a belted potty seat used for occupation during takeoff and landing.
The aircraft's flat floor, as opposed to the dropped aisle found on many midsize jets, along with its 105-cu.-ft. aft baggage compartment — again, accessible in flight — get high passenger marks as well.
The cabins of early aircraft weren't especially quiet and the furnishings were comparatively spartan, but Bombardier subsequently upgraded cabin amenities, expanded outfitting choices and made available an optional sound suppression kit. Operators also say the optional 80-lb. pocket doors for the bulkhead between the galley and main seating area are quite effective in reducing wind noise from the entry door.
Passengers who alternate between large-cabin, intercontinental-range aircraft and the Challenger 300 seem perfectly at ease in the latter despite its more compact size because cabin cross sections of both are nearly the same.
Several flight department managers said the aircraft provides large-cabin aircraft passenger comfort without the ramp presence “optics” of a heavy-iron jet.