Business aviation in brief

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GULFSTREAM EXPANSION

Gulfstream has opened the first of two phases of its new 58,025m2 (624,600ft2) Savannah, Georgia as part of a seven-year, $400 million expansion plan for its headquarters and business jet manufacturing and maintenance facilities. The expansion efforts are fuelling speculation that the company is edging closer to launching a larger-cabin, longer-range derivative of the G550 as early as this month's National Business Aviation Convention in Atlanta. Gulfstream has already offered a notional product plan with new or upgraded aircraft entering service between 2009 and 2014 in all of its market segments, from mid-size to large-cabin.

ROYAL LEARJET 35s

Luxury executive charter company Royal Jet is acquiring two Bombardier Learjet 35 business jets to service the growing demand for regional travel. The aircraft will join the Abu Dhabi-based operator's grwing fleet of aircraft which includes five Boeing Business jets, two Gulfstream G300s, an Avro RJ85 and a Learjet 55.

BRISTOW SIMULATOR

Frasca International has sold a Eurocopter EC225 and a Sikorsky S-92 full flight helicopter simulator to the Bristow Group. The machines will be based at Bristow's Aberdeen, Scotland base.

DELHI HELIPORT

Pawan Hans plans to build a new heliport in New Delhi to take advantage of the increase in business and tourism in and around the capital. The state-owned helicopter operator is keen to begin services before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, for which India is the host nation.

INDIAN APPEAL

India's civil aviation authority the DGCA has issued a notice to the Gujarat government, a state in the west of the country, for allegedly endangering the lives of state officials who fly on its VIP helicopter. According to the Times of India the helicopter was being flown by an unqualified pilot, in breach of regulations. The DGCA stipulates that all government-run helicopters must be twin-engined and flown by two pilots each holding a commercial licence. The co-pilot of the Gujarat Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin was found to hold only a private pilot's licence. In recent years a number of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft have crashed in India carrying senior politicians.