What the GAMA third-quarter numbers subtracted from the upbeat mood generated by October’s NBAA Convention, Gulfstream Aerospace restored in part when it announced ambitious plans last month for a major seven-year expansion project at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters “to ensure that the company is well positioned to meet future demand for business jets and support services” (see page 6). The announcement is a concrete indication of not only Gulfstream’s but also parent company General Dynamics’s confidence in the future of business aviation.
Exactly what Gulfstream will do with its $500 million, 159-acre addition is open to speculation since the company remains tight-lipped on specifics at this stage. Industry buzz suggests the new facilities will house development, production and support of successors to the G350/450/550 that use the G650’s mold-breaking fuselage cross-section as a starting point. Perhaps these will be the airplanes for which Gulfstream has already trademarked the model numbers G370/470/570.
GAMA’s 3Q numbers (see page 14) tell a mixed story: business aircraft deliveries declined but OEM revenues fell only slightly, reflecting the resilience of demand for large, big-ticket aircraft. Other segments struggled, with turboprops taking a bigger hit than jets.