Gulfstream executives stopped short of fully committing to the midsize market sector for the long-term, as the 10-year-old G150 now faces two new rivals with no replacement yet identified.
The G150 and the G280 are both based on products that Gulfstream inherited from the acquisition of Israel’s Galaxy Aerospace in 2001.
“We’re definitely committed long-term in the G280,” incoming Gulfstream president Mark Burns tells Flightglobal in an interview. “The G150 [situation] will have to play out.”
The mid-sized G150 entered service in 2005 with a wing borrowed from the G100, a widened fuselage, uprated Honeywell TFE731 engines and Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics.
The G150 previously competed against aircraft such as the Cessna Citation Sovereign and Bombardier Learjet 60XR, but now faces new alternatives in the fly-by-wire Embraer Legacy 500 and Cessna Citation Latitude.
Gulfstream introduced the heavily updated, super mid-size G280 in 2012.
Compared to the G280 market, sales of the G150 have been “slower”, says Scott Neal, Gulfstream’s senior vice-president of worldwide sales and marketing.
“That [sector of the market] seemed to take the hardest hit,” adds Neal, referring to the 2008 financial crisis. Deliveries of large cabin aircraft continued to grow through the crisis, but sales of light and mid-sized jets have struggled to recover.
Last January, Bombardier cited continuing weakness in the midsize segment as the reason for putting development of the Learjet 85 on an indefinite pause.
Gulfstream does not break out sales totals between the G150 and G280, but reports deliveries as a group to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Since the G280 was introduced in 2012, overall deliveries for both models increased from 11 to 23 in 2013 and 33 in 2014.
By comparison overall sales of Gulfstream’s three largest products now in production – the G450, G550 and G650 – rose from 83 in 2012 to 121 in 2013 before falling slightly to 117 last year.
IAI continues to assemble the G150 and G280 aircraft at its factory near the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport. The green aircraft are then ferried to a Gulfstream completions centre in Dallas, Texas.