Gulfstream Announces a $500M Expansion in Georgia

ATLANTA. Gulfstream Aerospace, a maker of business-jet aircraft, announced Monday that it is expanding operations in Georgia by adding more than 1,000 jobs and investing at least $500 million.

Gulfstream's seven-year plan calls for expanding its jet production and maintenance facilities at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport and renovating several existing facilities on its main Savannah campus. New positions will include production engineering and support technician jobs, the company announced.

It is Gulfstream's second major expansion on Georgia's Atlantic coast in half a decade.

Gulfstream President Joe Lombardo said the company is making sure it is positioned to meet a projected increase for new business-jet aircraft as well as the ability to service and maintain the larger fleet. He said the plan will mean "good, high-tech jobs for Georgia."

Gulfstream made its announcement at a news conference in Savannah attended by Gov. Sonny Perdue and area elected officials. The planned expansion marks a bright spot for Georgia's recession-wracked economy, which has been struggling to rebound after several years of job losses. The state's unemployment rate stands at around 10 percent.

Perdue said Gulfstream's plan for growth "will have a significant, statewide impact on Georgia's economy."

The company has been headquartered in Savannah since 1967 and now employs some 5,500 workers. A subsidiary of General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Va., Gulfstream designs, develops and services advanced business-jet aircraft.

Officials with Gulfstream say they have already begun hiring for the Georgia expansion.

In 2009 the company completed a $300 million expansion which included the largest general aviation aircraft maintenance facility in the world. That project also included a manufacturing, paint and research and development facilities. Gulfstream hired 1,100 new employees as part of that expansion.



Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.