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Gulfstream business soaring on international orders
October 17, 2011
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  • By Mary Carr Mayle
    October 12, 2011

    Orders for the Gulfstream G650 now extend into 2017.

    Gulfstream Aerospace President Larry Flynn, speaking at the National Business Aviation Association meeting in Las Vegas, said international orders have sustained the Savannah-based business jet manufacturer, which has continued to grow in a challenging market.

    “Businesses that were once regional are now global, and their leaders need long-range transportation,” Flynn said this week. “They recognize Gulfstream as the leader in technology, performance and product support, and that has translated into strong sales.”

    Flynn became president of Gulfstream last month, succeeding Joe Lombardo, who continues to oversee both Gulfstream and Jet Aviation as executive vice president of aerospace for General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), Gulfstream’s parent company.

    Gulfstream has an $18 billion order backlog, which grew by more than $400 million in the second quarter alone.

    While the delivery window for most Gulfstream business jets is 18 to 24 months, orders for the company’s flagship G650 – one of two new products expected to enter service next year – extend into 2017.

    “Our focus at the moment is to complete the two certification programs for the G650 and the G280,” Flynn said. “We’re on track to do that and deliver on time as promised.

    “We’re also intently focused on ensuring a smooth entry-into-service for both products and are positioning people and services accordingly.”

    Gulfstream’s Product Support group which continues to receive category-leading marks by industry publications, is growing to keep pace with the fleet, Flynn said, with new or expanded facilities planned or completed in Savannah, Westfield, Mass.; Luton, England; Madrid and Singapore, among others.

    “We are acutely aware that superior service and support sells airplanes, and we’ll continue to devote all the resources necessary to lead in this area,” he said.

    Gulfstream is on track in 2011 for green deliveries of 80 large-cabin models and 15 to 20 mid-cabin models. The company also plans to make green deliveries this year of 10 to 12 of the new G650 ultra-long-range jet.

    A green aircraft is one that has completed the initial phase of manufacturing and has received a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    It’s called “green” because it’s actually painted with a green protective coating that is washed off before the aircraft gets its final coat of paint.

    Gulfstream has more than 11,500 employees worldwide.

    Growth has come in all sectors of the company, but most notably in production, engineering and product support.

    International markets are the key drivers of that growth, Flynn said, adding that 70 percent of orders placed in the past year were from outside North America.

    Less than a year ago, Gulfstream announced a $500 million, seven-year facilities expansion program in Savannah.

    “We said then we would add 1,000 jobs over the period,” Flynn said.

    “We’ve already added more than 1,300.”

    Source: SAVANNAH NOW
    Date: 2011-10-12