Gulfstream has opened its first sales and design centre outside the USA to reflect the burgeoning demand for its business jets from international markets.

The 510m² (5,500ft²) facility in central London will serve Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and could provide a template for similar ventures in other strategic locations across the world.

“International markets now account for 60% of our new aircraft sales,” says Scott Neal, Gulfstream senior vice-president sales and marketing. “Europe, particularly Russia, the Middle East and Africa are very important markets for us. Our customer base has ­expanded greatly over the past few years and this move will allow us to strengthen our relationships and get closer to our customer base in this region.”

Gulfstream says its EMEA fleet “has grown by more than 60% in the last six years and has doubled in Europe over this period”. Europe’s in-service Gulfstream fleet totals 209 aircraft, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets ­database.

The new centre will also complement the Savannah, Georgia-based airframer’s 7,000m² service centre at London Luton airport, which maintains the region’s expanding Gulfstream fleet.

The UK capital was also selected by pioneering aircraft sales broker The Jet Business for the world’s first street-level virtual business aircraft showroom, which opened in early 2012.

Founder Steve Varsano says business “has been fantastic, particularly in the last eight months” and likens it to “a steam train pulling out of a station. It takes a while to pick up speed, but once the train gathers momentum it runs beautifully”.

The company has 13 “high-end” aircraft on its books, says Varsano, with a combined market value of $400 million. “We have successfully built a brand and are now looking to expand The Jet Business to a second location next year.”

“I congratulate Gulfstream on making this very wise move,” he adds “Basing this centre in London will enable them to capture and serve many more [international] customers,”.

Source: Flight International