Gulfstream positioned for sales growth
“It’s a good improvement year over year,” said Gulfstream Aerospace president Bryan Moss at the company’s press conference here, commenting on the company’s steady growth in sales and deliveries. For 2006, Gulfstream is expecting to deliver 39 mid-size jets and 72 large-cabin jets, up from 26 and 63 last year. Next year, Gulfstream plans to deliver 48 mid-size and 79 large-cabin jets, Moss said. “This reflects what’s going on the marketplace.”
Gulfstream has grown from a one-airplane manufacturer 10 years ago to offering six models in the midsize and large-cabin market. The company is definitely not looking at very light jets, however. “Gulfstream has little or no interest in that area of the market,” Moss said. “It’s an area we don’t understand.”
To meet increasing growth and customer service needs, Gulfstream is expanding its Savannah, Ga. facilities, spending $300 million to add 1,100 new jobs and 1.1 million sq ft of new space. The Savannah service center is moving from its existing 200,000-sq-ft facility to a new building under construction on 77 acres. The new service center will be built in two phases, each 300,000 sq ft, and the existing center will be retooled as a completion center.
In March, Gulfstream engineers finally moved out of their “temporary” trailers, installed more than 10 years ago, into a new research-and-development/engineering building. “The building can handle up to 750 engineers,” Moss said, “and we’re halfway there.”
Moss briefly addressed an issue that has been a problem for Gulfstream–the loss of a court case regarding Gulfstream’s copywriting of maintenance manuals. The U.S. district court ruled that copyright law doesn’t protect Gulfstream’s maintenance manuals, which the FAA requires manufacturers to publish. Following the most recent developments in the case, Gulfstream had the opportunity to appeal, but would not comment about whether it had done so. While he refused to comment about the litigation, Moss did say, “Protection of proprietary data rights is an ongoing issue.”
Gulfstream displayed its implementation of a synthetic-vision system (SVS) in an experimental GV’s Honeywell PlaneView avionics suite at the static display, along with Kollsman’s second-generation EVS II enhanced-vision system. EVS II is expected to be certified in the first quarter of next year, while the SVS should be approved and available sometime next year. Operators of Gulfstream 350 through 550 models equipped with the PlaneView cockpit will be able to retrofit the SVS via an Eprom change to the display controller. SVS will be an option for new large-cabin Gulfstreams.