Gulfstream will re-brand its new G250 super-midsize jet as the G280, the company announced on Monday. The change was prompted by the company's "sensitivity to the varied cultures of its international customer base," according to the news release. "Since introducing the Gulfstream G250 in 2008 and presenting it to customers around the world, we determined that G280 is a more amenable number sequence in certain cultures," said spokesman Larry Flynn. "This change reflects our commitment to understanding the diverse cultures of our global business environment." Asked for more details, company spokesman Jeff Miller told AVweb that "in certain Asian cultures, numbers can be interpreted in various ways The previous name was a distraction from what is important about this new aircraft, so we elected to make a change."
According to Wikipedia, 250 may be considered an "inauspicious" number in China because the Mandarin characters that form it can be read in a certain way to convey an insult implying that someone is foolish or idiotic. An expert in Mandarin who was contacted by AVweb said he couldn't confirm that interpretation, because the ancient language is steeped in "so many theories and stories and legends." Aviation reporter Molly McMillin at the Wichita Eagle noted that the numbers 2 and 8 are traditionally considered lucky by the Chinese. "The word for '8' sounds similar to the Chinese word meaning 'prosper' or 'wealth'," she wrote. The G280 can fly up to Mach 0.85, with a range of up to 3,400 nm. Three aircraft are now flying in the test program and a fourth aircraft has been completed. First delivery is expected later this year. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli spoke with Gulfstream's Pres Henne about the G250 when it was introduced at NBAA in 2008; click here for that podcast.