Asia an emerging market for Gulfstream

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Jun. 14--Asia is emerging as one of the strongest markets for Gulfstream business jets, a Gulfstream official said this week in China.

"When we look at the market for China and the region, we see considerable upward potential," Roger Sperry, Gulfstream's vice president for international sales, told the People's Daily Online last week on the eve of the Asian Business Aviation exhibition in Macau.

Sperry attributed rosy projections to such factors as strong wealth creation in the last decade, economic growth, simplified flight-planning procedures in China's mainland, a commitment by China to build another 97 airports by 2020, cooperation of the General Administration of the Civil Aviation of China in the certification and registration of business aircraft, and new financing sources, among others.

"The market is robust, the business culture is dynamic, and more companies are discovering the flexibility and advantages provided by business aviation," he said.

Savannah-based Gulfstream exhibited its G150, G400 and G550, as well as a G200 provided by Asia Jet of Hong Kong, at the two-day expo, which took place Thursday and Friday.

"As the whole industry rebounds with a firm eye on Asia as a key growth market, this dedicated business aviation event is extremely welcome," Chuck Woods, chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association, told the People's Daily.

"The international business jet market is maturing increasingly in emerging economies," Gulfstream President Joe Lombardo said last month.

"One of the most compelling realities affecting jet-powered, general aviation aircraft has been the shift in the demographic make-up of the installed fleet. It was not too long ago that approximately 80 percent of that fleet resided in North America," Lombardo said.

"While this region still represents the majority of global usage today, the percent continues to decline year after year. Regions such as Asia/Pacific, Eastern and Western Europe, South America and the Middle East and Africa have provided incremental boosts to aircraft delivery and product support service volumes."

"In Asia, the Gulfstream fleet has grown from 27 aircraft in 2001 to more than 110 today," said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream Product Support, a 3,200-employee organization.

"To support that tremendous growth, we have enhanced our regional support. In the last year, we've doubled our parts and materials inventory in Asia and added key personnel there. We are committed to our customers, and the people and parts we've added in Asia reflect that."

Gulfstream's growing commitment to Asia also includes the establishment of a Beijing-based maintenance support team, a Hong Kong-based regional program director, an international distribution manager for parts and materials, and a team of two Hong Kong-based interior technicians.

No Rolls for newest jet?

In another Gulfstream development, Aviation News is reporting General Electric and Pratt and Whitney appear to be poised for battle over Gulfstream's newest large cabin design, concept code-named P42, after the business jet maker ousted longtime supplier Rolls-Royce from the contest.

If confirmed, the decision would mark the first time in more than 50 years a heritage Gulfstream business aircraft has moved into final design with a non-Rolls engine.

Gulfstream spokeswoman Heidi Fedak would neither confirm nor deny the report.

"We don't comment on rumors surrounding aircraft we have in development," Fedak said Friday.

"As you know, we are always experimenting with new products and services for our customers and operators," she said. "If and when those become available, we'll be happy to discuss them."

According to Aviation News, the P42 is a successor to Gulfstream's large-cabin, long-range G450. It will build on the all-new wing, fuselage and systems designs of the new flagship G650, now in flight test.

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