Gulfstream Expands Service Network To Support Expanding Fleet
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA—Gulfstream is expanding its service center network, as it works to simultaneously support an expanding fleet, ramp up production and certify three new aircraft—the G700, G800 and G400.
Scott Neal, senior vice president for worldwide sales, says Gulfstream is seeing strong momentum across its whole product line, including the G500 and G600, which were affected by an FAA airworthiness directive (AD) that placed flight restrictions on the aircraft. Gulfstream received FAA and European Union Aviation Agency (EASA) approval for new software Sept. 12 and 13, respectively, that clears those restrictions. Gulfstream President Mark Burns says that 100% of that fleet has had the software update installed.
Despite the flight restrictions during the AD, “we continued to sell quite a few G500s and G600s, so the market has lot of confidence in those two airplanes,” Neal says. More than 170 G500 and 180 G600 aircraft are in service.
The G700 will start a world tour right after the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) with two production aircraft that are outfitted. These aircraft, which the OEM refers to as P1 and P2, will visit 20 cities in Mexico, Europe, Turkey, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India and Africa. It expects to set city pair records during the tour. Gulfstream has five aircraft in the G700 test program.
The G800, the longest-range aircraft in Gulfstream’s new aircraft family, should be certified in 2023, as will the G700, says Neal. Gulfstream only has two G800s in the test program because it is leveraging the G700 test program due to the common platform. Manufacturing of the G400, which is slotted between the super-midsize G280 and the large-cabin G500/G600, is “progressing well” and first deliveries are on target for 2025, says Neal. To keep up with demand, Gulfstream is expanding a manufacturing facility for the G400, G500 and G600.
For its existing fleet, Neal says the company continues to invest in the G280. By the middle of 2023, the aircraft will feature a lower cabin altitude, down from 6,000 ft. to 4,800 ft., and exterior LED lights.
Gulfstream continues to see “a high demand” for the G650, intended to be replaced by the G700, so it will manufacture it “longer than we originally expected,” says Neal. It has delivered 500 of the G650 and G650ER family in less than 10 years.
In addition to the sales momentum, the service center business has never “been busier . . . than we are now,” which is a reflection of how much the fleet has been flying the past 3-6 months, says Derek Zimmerman, president for customer support. As flight cycles increase, aircraft naturally will progress toward reaching maintenance thresholds, which Zimmerman says “[Gulfstream is] perfectly positioned to satisfy.”
The company has 14 company-owned service centers, 20 authorized warranty facilities and five Jet Aviation sites that perform maintenance around the world and opened a 160,00- ft.2 facility at the end of July at Fort Worth Alliance Airport. It will continue to perform G280, G600 and eventually G400 completions at Dallas Love Field, where it can continue to support some service there, but the majority of aftermarket service will transfer to Alliance Airport.
Gulfstream plans to also open a component overhaul and repair facility in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that will maintain structural and mechanical components such as wheels, brakes and landing gear. This will complement one in Lincoln, California, and will free up space at completion centers by carving out this work. Zimmerman expects this newly built facility to come online late in the first quarter of 2023.
In addition, its new 225,000- ft.2 service center in Mesa, Arizona, should open in mid-to-late 2023. This facility will look very similar to the one at its Savannah headquarter’s east side. Gulfstream started using an existing facility at the airport in February and has hired more than 100 people.
Zimmerman also announced that Gulfstream is adding ExecuJet Nigeria as its first an authorized warranty facility in Africa. “we’ve been working with them on this for some time,” he says. ExecuJet Nigeria, which is not part of Dassault’s ExecuJet franchise, will service the “large installed based on West Africa,” he says.
Gulfstream’s backlog is strong. It has a few aircraft that we can deliver at the end of 2023, but the first slots for the rest are in 2024 and 2025, says Neal.