Gulfstream Expands as Other Airframers Retrench

 - November 16, 2010, 11:03 AM

Gulfstream Aerospace yesterday announced plans for a $500 million, seven-year expansion project at its Savannah headquarters “to ensure that the company is well positioned to meet future demand for business jets and support services.” The aircraft manufacturer entered into a 50-year lease with the Savannah Airport Commission to build additional facilities on 159 acres of airport land. The growth is expected to create 1,000 more Gulfstream jobs, which would bring its total employment in Savannah to approximately 6,500 by 2017. A Gulfstream spokeswoman told AIN that the $500 million cost will cover construction, renovations, tooling and equipment. “Our primary focus will be on research and development and manufacturing facilities, but will include the expansion of other existing Gulfstream operations as well,” she said. “We’re still in the planning stages, so we’re not prepared to provide any specific details on the buildings or how they will be used.” Teal Group aviation/aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia told AIN that the expansion plans are “probably the start of serious investment into Gulfstream’s long-awaited new family of G350/450/550 replacements. Assuming the company moves aggressively with this new family after the G250 and G650 enter service [next year], Gulfstream could be able to gain and hold the number-one spot in the industry for some time.”