Gulfstream has stepped in to resolve an impasse that has halted production of the nacelles for the engines that power the G500 and G600, and forced their supplier into Chapter 11.
Tulsa-based Nordam filed for bankruptcy protection on 23 July, two weeks after stopping making the engine cowlings for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800. That followed a spat with the Montreal-based powerplant manufacturer over the cost of the programme.
As part of a deal that would allow the family-owned company to exit Chapter 11, Gulfstream is understood to have offered to take on much of Nordam’s debts resulting from the dispute in return for the intellectual property in the nacelle design.
Neither Gulfstream nor P&WC will comment until a bankruptcy court in Delaware has approved the proposed deal – possibly later this month – but Nordam chief executive Meredith Siegfried Madden says the arrangement with the Savannah-based business jet manufacturer will “allow all programme activities to resume”.
In a statement, she adds: “Suspending a customer’s programme and impacting them, their customer, our stakeholders and supplier/partners is not something that should ever happen. My family and I, as well as the entire Nordam family, are forever grateful to Gulfstream for stepping into the situation and leading us to a successful partnership.”
She admits that the Chapter 11 process “has created significant worry and anxiety for everyone concerned”, and says the proposed settlement is “the best agreement for everyone involved."
"Gulfstream gets to build its business jets; it allows Nordam to continue under our family’s ownership and leadership; it secures our stakeholders and company’s future and allows us to pay all of our suppliers, continuing our strong relationships with them,” she says.
In July, Madden disclosed that Nordam had invested “in excess of $200 million” over eight years in the PW800 nacelle system, which was “operating as expected” on the G500 test aircraft.
Gulfstream launched the clean-sheet G500 and G600 in 2014, with the G500 achieving Federal Aviation Administration type certification in July this year. Gulfstream expects the super-large cabin, long-range business jet to enter service in the fourth quarter, with customer deliveries of the longer-range G600 following in 2019.