Gulfstream announces US$500 mln expansion
Gulfstream Aerospace has announced a US$500 million, seven-year plan to expand its facilities in Savannah, Georgia, as it anticipates increased demand for business jets and support services.
The aircraft manufacturer says the expansion is expected to create 1,000 jobs at the company, expanding the current Savannah workforce of 5,500 by more than 15 percent. The new positions will include specialists, engineers and support technicians, the company says.
“With our own sales trends and market forecasts suggesting an upturn over the next decade, we want to ensure Gulfstream is well-positioned to meet the demand in terms of products and services,” the manufacturer’s President Joe Lombardo says.
“We are already beginning to see signs of a modest recovery,” Lombardo continued. “In the third quarter of 2010, we booked more orders than we had in any quarter since the downturn began in mid-2008. Furthermore, as flying hours have increased, Gulfstream service centres have enjoyed a significant increase in service volume.”
The expansion will involve the construction of new facilities in the north-west quadrant of Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, the renovation of several existing facilities and the expansion of offices and laboratories at the Gulfstream Research Development Centre.
Gulfstream’s Savannah headquarters, opened in 1967, includes initial-phase manufacturing of the company’s G650, G550, G500, G450 and G350 business jets. It also includes the largest of the company’s five final-phase manufacturing facilities and the biggest of Gulfstream’s 10 service centres.
The company completed its last expansion at the site – valued at US$400 million – in 2009. That work included: the development of the world’s largest general aviation maintenance facility; the construction of the Nicholas D Chabraja Manufacturing Facility for the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650; a three-bay final-phase paint facility; and a 300,000-square-foot Research and Development Centre.
CESSNA AIRCRAFT delivered a Citation CJ4 light business jet in October to its first European customer for the model: a private owner-operator in the UK. European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for the CJ4 is now pending and Cessna plans to make the first European-registered delivery of the aircraft type, into Germany, in the second quarter of 2011. US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for the CJ4 was granted in March 2010, prior to the first delivery in April. The CJ4 is the newest and largest member of the company’s CJ family of business jets. The aircraft is FAA-approved for single-pilot operations and shares a common type-rating with other CJ models. Cessna says the retail price for a typically-equipped CJ4 is US$9 million.