Gulfstream's Luton site grows in importance

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Gulfstream's newly-expanded Luton service centre will become a key hub for the US business jet manufacturer as it looks to expand its offering outside North America.

The 75,000ft² (6,968m²) site includes an enlarged hangar area, with enough room to work on up to 12 aircraft simultaneously, and a large amount of office space.

It complements a 10,000ft² parts warehouse, opened in May, which holds some $50 million worth of stock.

The $4.5 million expansion of the Luton site, which included a $2 million investment in tools and equipment, has been driven by two factors, said Mark Burns, president Gulfstream product support. First, international sales of Gulfstream aircraft have increased by 70% over recent years and the global support network needs to match this growth outside the USA. Second, the introduction of the ultra-large cabin G650 in early 2012 required a larger hangar to accommodate it.

Burns said: "Service is a key growth area for us going forward. We want full-service capability in Europe - we believe it will sell airplanes for us."

Luton is Gulfstream's largest company-owned site outside the USA. It forms part of a European network, which, including sister company Jet Aviation, has 31 separate locations.

"If you look at our worldwide footprint now, it's probably the strongest in business aviation," said Burns.

Meanwhile, the company has just announced a 100,000ft² extension of its site in Westfield, Massachusetts. Construction is scheduled to begin in April 2012.