Political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa caused a slowdown in sales activity, but Gulfstream says in many of those markets activity is starting to pick up again.
Gulfstream president Larry Flynn says the effect of the Arab Spring “was not nearly as much as expected,” with only a few cancellations and “surprisingly minimal” disruptions. Nevertheless, some markets saw sales activity freeze for some period, Flynn acknowledges, but notes that “we are seeing some movement again.”
Gulfstream has seen its Middle East/Africa fleet grow from 97 aircraft in 2006 to 148 last year. Worldwide, the market has grown to representing 7% of the company’s activity, up from 6% a decade ago. Although the increase seems small, it is on a much expanded base of 2,000 aircraft from 1,000, Flynn says.
As before, Gulfstream sees the bulk of its business in the Middle East in larger cabin aircraft, but Flynn expects the G280, due to enter service late in the first half of 2012, also to secure a position in the region.
For the year, Gulfstream is continuing its production rampup. Deliveries worldwide should reach 110-115 units, of which 15-20 would be in the mid-cabin size. Last year’s figure was 99 units (including 24 mid-cabin aircraft).
Like other aircraft makers, Gulfstream is wrestling with the tightening in aircraft delivery financing. The company has received support from the U.S. ExIm Bank export credit agency.