Gulfstream Sales Continue To Soar

 - April 24, 2008, 11:00 AM

Sales of Gulfstream business jets in the first quarter increased 17 percent year-over-year, Nicholas Chabraja, chairman and CEO of parent company General Dynamics, said yesterday during an investor conference call. According to Chabraja, backlog at the Savannah, Ga. aircraft manufacturer climbed $200 million in the quarter, and that includes only sales of in-production aircraft. “We didn’t start taking orders for the new G650 until April 15, which is the second quarter,” he noted. Since Gulfstream started accepting $500,000 refundable deposits last week for the high-$50 million G650, “One could say that we’ve had an overwhelming response,” Chabraja said. The manufacturer is in the process of converting these letters of intent into full sales contracts. Meanwhile, first-quarter deliveries at Gulfstream landed at 37 green aircraft, compared with 30 in the same period last year. It shipped 22 large airplanes and 15 midsize jets during the quarter. In a refrain heard frequently these days, Chabraja said he sees healthy demand for business jets despite the weaker U.S. economy, thanks to increasing international sales.