Gulfstream Aerospace's deliveries dropped by a third in the second quarter to 21 but the Savannah, Georgia manufacturer saw strong demand at the same time, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 2.1:1, parent company General Dynamics (GD) reported on Wednesday.
In releasing second-quarter results, GD chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic called the second quarter the strongest in terms of the number of units in “quite some time” and said that “from an order perspective, the quarter bordered on spectacular.”
Total funded backlog of GD’s Aerospace group—including Gulfstream and Jet Aviation—grew to $13.155 billion at the end of the second quarter, up from $11.545 billion at the end of the first quarter, and $11.874 billion a year earlier. Including both Gulfstream and Jet Aviation, the book-to-bill ratio on the quarter was 2.03:1.
Novakovic said the orders were particularly remarkable because they did not rely on fleet sales. She added that they tilted toward the large-cabin products but are across the board for its in-service models, along with the ultra-long-range G700.
In turn, Gulfstream is increasing production rates for the rest of the year with plans to deliver 71 aircraft and leaving open the possibility of pulling forward a few extra deliveries to meet demand, she said.
However, in the most recent quarter, Gulfstream’s deliveries of 18 large jets and three mid-cabin were down from the 26 large jets and six mid-cabins handed over in the same period in 2020. Novakovic noted that GD previously cautioned that the second quarter of 2021 would be lower in terms of deliveries because Gulfstream had to adjust production as it grappled with supply chain issues and market struggles in general that came earlier in the pandemic.
As a result, though, GD’s Aerospace Division saw revenues drop year-over-year in the second quarter by 17.8 percent to $1.622 billion. This was down $352 million from $1.974 billion in second-quarter 2020.
For the six months, Gulfstream delivered 49 aircraft (43 large-cabin, six mid-cabin), down from 55 (46 large-cabin, nine mid-cabin) in the first half a year ago. Revenues in the period slid $156 million from $3.665 billion in the first half of 2020 to $3.509 billion this year.
Despite the drop in revenues, the Aerospace group’s earnings were up $36 million to $195 million in the second quarter and by $16 million to $415 million in the first half.
Regarding the services side of Aerospace, Novakovic conceded that the recovery has been slower outside the U.S. and that the company was off original targets. But improvements in the U.S. are bringing services to about 95 percent of 2019 levels.
Novakovic also was encouraged by progress on the new G700 flagship, with 1,600 test hours now accumulated from the five flight-test aircraft, and she said the jet remains on target for entry into service later in 2022. But she cautioned that “much remains to be accomplished, particularly with respect to the certification of the new Rolls-Royce engine.” She added that there were no issues with the Pearl 700 engine program, but that there is a lot involved with the certification of a new engine.