Gulfstream’s latest model, the G800, is making its NBAA-BACE debut this year at Orlando (Florida) Executive Airport’s static display line. The G800 is the newest (and largest/fastest/longest-range) member of a wide selection of Gulfstream designs. At a press briefing on Oct. 17, the day before the opening of the show, company President Mark Burns expressed confidence in Gulfstream’s 2014 “family plan” decision to offer “a Gulfstream for every customer’s mission.”
With a range of 8,000 nautical miles (7,000 NM at its Mach 0.90 high-speed cruise), the G800 will become the flagship of the fleet. Gulfstream will continue to produce the G700 (from which the G800 evolved) as well as the G650/650ER (extended range) versions. The latter had been earmarked for replacement, but “the market decided not to,” Burns said, and orders have remained strong, with incremental improvements such as steep-approach capability added along the way.
Gulfstream will also continue to produce the popular G500/600 series—and has decided to launch a G400, getting “back in that space,” said Burns, referring to the hugely successful smaller-cabin GIV (aka G4) from two decades ago. There are currently four airframes involved in the G400 test program, he said.
Burns and Gulfstream see the current market as strong, with “huge pent-up demand” following the COVID pandemic. He said the customer base has “shifted a little bit” from “new [first-time] owners” to a comeback of the more traditional U.S. corporate customers.
Burns described the Gulfstream mission as having a core of designing, building and selling jets that maximize the customer’s aviation experience. Asked about challenges from financial woes to environmental considerations, he said the company has carefully studied the data, but sees no short-term reason to change course at this time. He also noted that Gulfstream has buttressed its support network, particularly in North America with two new large facilities in the Dallas area. “I can’t think of when we’ve built one that was too big,” he joked. He added, “Never trust your customer experience to a third party.”
In case you were wondering what happened to the accumulation of moderate wealth in middle class America, here is a really good example of where all that wealth has been transferred. This is an obvious sign that economic segregation between the rich and everyone else is getting larger. Since GA infrastructure is limited, you can also bet that the middle class of general aviation will also get squeezed out.