Gulfstream G650 Set To Soar in In Middle East Market
Gulfstream Aerospace has come to MEBA on the crest of a wave with deliveries of 104 large-cabin jets forecast by the end of the year, albeit “green” aircraft ready for completion and painting for customers. The company has brought a G450 and G550 to the MEBA static display but was unable to fly a G650 or the new G280 to Dubai, because it is focusing on delivering these new jets to customers.
The absence of the G650 is unlikely to dent its popularity. According to Scott Neal, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Savannah, Georgia-based airframer (here at Chalets A1 and A2), the ultra long-range and large-cabin G650 is generating strong interest in the Middle East, a region where large-cabin Gulfstream jets have long been popular. Meanwhile in the Middle East and Africa, the overall number of Gulfstream jets has increased from 77 to 134 jets in the past nine years.
“We’ll get the G650 on the road soon,” Neal said at Gulfstream’s MEBA press conference here yesterday, adding that plans call for a G650 world tour starting in February. “The G650 has gained wide acceptance in the Middle East,” Neal maintained, with the first customer G650 in the region expected to enter service within the next 12 months. Although Gulfstream had previously forecast delivery of 17 G650s by the end of this year, Neal said. , “We’ll be somewhat under that by the end of the year,” he added.
During its development, the G280 gained 200 additional nautical miles of range than originally planned. It can carry four passengers 3,600 nm at Mach 0.8 and fly from Dubai to Bangkok at Mach 0.84. The G650’s range increased even more, adding 1,000 nm above the range announced at its launch, for a total of 7,000 nm at Mach 0.8 and 6,000 nm at Mach 0.9.
The FAA certified the G650 in September and the G280 in August and the company expects both jets to receive EASA certification by the end of this year. Gulfstream delivered the first customer G280 to a U.S. manufacturing firm on November 14.
To support upcoming deliveries, Gulfstream’s training provider, FlightSafety International, has already trained 46 G650 pilots. The two G650 simulators located at the FlightSafety learning center next to Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Ga., were approved and ready for training by the time the G650 received its type certificate. Two more simulators are under construction.
Last year the company delivered 107 aircraft: 90 large-cabin and 17 midsize.) Revenues for the third quarter of this year were up 30 percent compared to the same period last year, the backlog has grown to $16 billion. “The third quarter was our best quarter for orders,” Neal said, and included a number of customers who made multiple-jet orders. During the past year, Gulfstream has added 1,500 new personnel and the company is adding more people as growth continues.
Also here at MEBA 2012, Gulfstream introduced its newest employee, Allan Stanton, who has taken on the role of regional vice president for international sales in the Middle East. Stanton is intimately familiar with the Middle East market, having lived in Dubai for many years. His previous job was regional sales director for Hawker Beechcraft in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
In the past 11 years, Gulfstream has grown its fleet from about 1,000 jets based mostly in the U.S. to twice that many operating all over the world; while the company doesn’t break out backlog numbers, it has revealed that it is balanced evenly between the U.S. and rest of world. This global growth means that Gulfstream has had to rapidly expand its service and support network, which now includes 3,700 personnel, $1.4 billion worth of spares worldwide, 11 Gulfstream-owned service centers and a number of factory-authorized facilities.
The latest Gulfstream facility is the new Gulfstream Beijing, which opened in November after receiving Part 145 approval from China’s CAAC. The facility, housed in a 7,618-sq-m hangar at Beijing Capital International Airport, is a joint venture between Gulfstream and Hainan Airlines Group’s Hainan Aviation Technik and Deer Jet subsidiaries.
“We continue to install product support worldwide,” said Trevor Esling, Gulfstream regional vice president Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We’re looking at expansion in Europe, Asia and South America.” o