GULFSTREAM IS TO expand its Long Beach, California, service and completion centre as part of its strategy to double production to some 60 Gulfstream IV-SP and V business jets by 1999. The expansion will include a new paint centre, scheduled to be operational by the fourth quarter of 1997.

The company has already expanded and upgraded its service and completion centres at Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia, in a move to bring more maintenance and completion work in-house. Initial GVs are being completed at the Savannah centre, which is located adjacent to Gulfstream's manufacturing plant.

Gulfstream, meanwhile, says that it delivered 24 IVs in 1996, down from 26 in 1995, but also delivered its first three customer Vs to the completion centre. The company says that it ended the year with a firm-order backlog of 94 aircraft, worth about $3.1 billion, which marks a steep increase from the end of 1995, when the company's forward order book stood at 57 aircraft, worth $1.9 billion.

The production figures were released as part of Gulfstream's first year-end financial report as a publicly traded company following the $1 billion share flotation in August - although the Forstmann Little investment company still retains majority control.

Overall, the company reports that sales continued to hover just above $1 billion in 1996, but says that net profits were at a ten-year high of $47 million.

Source: Flight International