Gulfstream Launches Major Expansion

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Announcing a half-billion-dollar expansion plan may seem out of place in today's economy, but Gulfstream said this week it's ready to start on a seven-year build-up to prepare for the future demand for business jets and support services. "We want to ensure Gulfstream is well-positioned," said Joe Lombardo, president of the company. "We are already beginning to see signs of a modest recovery. 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 centers have enjoyed a significant increase in service volume." The plan includes building new facilities at the company's base at the Savannah airport, as well as renovating and expanding several existing facilities at two other sites. The company also expects to create 1,000 new jobs.

Gulfstream has been based in Savannah since 1967. Initial manufacturing facilities for five Gulfstream models are sited there -- the G650, G550, G500, G450 and G350. The largest of the company's five final-phase manufacturing facilities and the largest of Gulfstream's 10 service centers also are in Savannah. Gulfstream said it will utilize sustainable design and construction elements in its projects and will aim to provide opportunities to local small businesses.