Upbeat Gulfstream says it is benefiting from delays to its rivals’ new long-range, large-cabin business jet programmes, while its developmental duo are still on schedule.
Both Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000, and Dassault’s 5X have been hit by hitches that have pushed back likely certification by up to two years.
Gulfstream, meanwhile, says its newest types, the G500 and G600, are on track for entry into service as planned, in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
“We have a very long history of delivering on our promises,” Gulfstream’s senior vice-president, worldwide sales and marketing Scott Neal said at the show, citing the on-time arrival of its previous programmes, the G550 and G650/G650ER. “What we deliver matches what we say. It is a differentiator that helps us win business.”
Neal also believes that – despite economic wobbles – the previously fast-growing business aviation market in China will continue to flourish. “We have seen the frenetic pace slow, but we remain very optimistic and we’re investing for the long term. We have the number one share there and we plan to stay there,” he says.
Although Gulfstream’s major market has been – and remains – North America, its fleet size in Asia-Pacific has doubled in five years to 289 aircraft, the company claims. The vast bulk of these – 243 – are its large-cabin jets, the G450, G550 and G650.
Neal says the three G500s in flight test will “shortly” be joined by a fourth example. The programme has accumulated almost 500h since its maiden sortie last May, including a single flight of 6h 10min. Its first G600 – which shares a cockpit and fuselage shape with its sibling – is in production and will fly later this year.
“The test programme is progressing according to plan,” Neal says.
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