Gulfstream Aerospace has joined other major manufacturers of business jets that are planning another round of layoffs and production cutbacks this year in the face of the slowing economy. “Possible military action in the Middle East and unrest in the Asia Pacific area have exacerbated the [economic] downturn,” Gulfstream said on the eve of the U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq last month.
Reductions in the work force over the next several months at Savannah, Ga.-based Gulfstream could dismiss as many as 1,000 employees in addition to an undisclosed number of independent contractors. “Business aircraft market conditions and product demand will determine the extent and timing,” Gulfstream said.
The employment level now stands at 7,400 workers, down 900 since December 2001. Gulfstream noted that these numbers include employees leaving on their own accord under the voluntary retirement program established in 2001, as well as jobs lost to layoffs.
At the same time, General Dynamics revealed that its Gulfstream subsidiary will reduce production this year from an original 85 aircraft (the same number delivered last year) to 77. Gulfstream delivered 101 aircraft in 2001. The eight airplanes that won’t be built will consist of five “mid-range models” (G100s and G200s) and three “long-range, large-cabin models” (G400s and G500/550s).
“We have confidence in our markets in the long run, and are well positioned in both the business aviation and government/special-mission sectors,” said Gulfstream president Bill Boisture. “We are taking these actions to retain our strong leadership position, protect the integrity of our brand and adjust our resources to build only those aircraft that we project the market can absorb.”