Gulfstream Expects Dominance In Asia To Continue
The number of Gulfstream jets in the Asia Pacific region has more than tripled in the last six years, according to the Savannah, Georgia-based airframer. At its press conference here at ABACE on Monday, Larry Flynn, president of Gulfstream, noted that the number of the company’s large-cabin twinjets in the region has risen from 50 to 169 since 2007. Overall, the manufacturer, which claims 63 percent of the large-cabin market and 65 percent of the super-midsize market, has 208 aircraft based in the area, including 61 in mainland China and 45 in Hong Kong. At the end of 2012, 23 percent of Gulfstream’s $15.7 billion backlog was destined for the region.
“Asia, particularly China, remains our leading export market,” Flynn said. “As investors and businesses look around the globe for opportunities, the need for long-range, rapid transportation increases. The capabilities of our aircraft easily allow Chinese operators to reach markets in North America, Europe, the Middle East and beyond.”
To support the company’s growth in the region, Gulfstream (Chalet 340) is the first OEM to offer factory service in China through Gulfstream Beijing, a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Part 145 repair station, which opened in November. The more than 100,000-sq-ft (9,662 sq m) facility, located at Beijing Capital International Airport, is a joint venture between the manufacturer and Hainan Airlines Group subsidiaries Hainan Aviation Technik (HNAT) and Beijing Capital Airlines (Deer Jet), China’s largest business jet charter provider, with a fleet of more than 40 Gulfstream aircraft.
“We’re seeing growth every week,” said Mark Burns, president of the company’s product support, who added that the facility has already serviced more than 40 aircraft since it began operations. “We’re not just working on aircraft at the facility, we’re sending technicians on road trips to assist operators.” Those U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-certified technicians can support any model Gulfstream in aircraft-on-the-ground situations throughout China, Japan or South Korea.
There are seven other service providers in the region that Gulfstream operators can use, including factory-authorized service centers Jet Aviation and Metrojet in Hong Kong and Jet Aviation Singapore, and authorized warranty centers Jamco Corp. in Sendai, Japan; Airworks in Mumbai, India; and Execujet Australia’s locations in Sydney and Melbourne. Burns noted that Gulfstream Product Support has an inventory of $1.4 billion worth of parts and materials available through 13 distribution centers around the world.
Gulfstream announced it has promoted James Liang from manager of parts and materials in Asia to regional sales manager for product support sales in Asia, responsible for maintenance and avionics sales in the region. Previously he was responsible for the company’s more than $56 million in spare parts and materials spread throughout its parts depots in Beijing, Hong Kong and South Korea.
The General Dynamics subsidiary brought its entire product family to ABACE this year, including its two newest products, which made their ABACE debut, as part of a world demonstration tour. Gulfstream’s new flagship–the G650–received FAA and EASA certification last September; deliveries of the large-cabin aircraft began in December. The ultra-long-range twinjet added another city-pair record to its résumé last month when it flew 6,223 nm from Chicago to Beijing with five passengers and four crew, at an average speed of Mach 0.87. According to Scott Neal, the company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, the G650 is the longest-range business jet as well as the fastest certified civil jet, and is capable of flying nonstop from Shanghai to New York.
Gulfstream’s new super-midsize G280 began deliveries in November. Among its pending city-pair records are two Mach 0.8 flights made last month between Melbourne, Australia, and Singapore’s Seletar Airport (3,300 nm/6,112 km) and Singapore and Abu Dhabi (3,213 nm/5,950 km).
“The G280, which replaces the G200, is perfect for the market,” Roger Sperry, the company’s regional senior vice president of international sales, told AIN. “It can connect all of Asia and Southeast Asia.” Since January, the G280 demonstrator has visited 72 cities in 24 countries, covering more than 80,500 nm (149,086 km).
Rounding out the company’s business jet fleet here in Shanghai is the airframer’s large-cabin G450 (to be delivered to Chengdu-based Allpoints Jets, a charter operator) and a large-cabin G550 and a midsize G150.o