Jan. 21--With nearly 2,200 aircraft in service across the globe, Gulfstream's cavernous service facility in Savannah -- the world's largest for business jet aircraft -- is already getting crowded.
To help alleviate the situation, Gulfstream president Larry Flynn on Tuesday announced the company will expand its service center at the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport, doubling its current footprint and adding at least 100 new highly skilled positions.
Gulfstream has signed a lease with the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority to develop a $25 million, 110,000-square-foot maintenance repair and overhaul facility near its two existing hangars.
Groundbreaking is slated for the first quarter of this year, with construction expected to be complete by May 2015. Initial hiring is already under way, Flynn said.
The expansion will be double the size of Gulfstream's existing 55,000-square foot facility, which currently has one hangar devoted to servicing its large-cabin aircraft and another hangar serving as a final phase completions center for the G450 and G550, plus a parts warehouse. Those operations will remain intact, Flynn said.
With employment at 200 in Brunswick, the expansion will increase in the company's current Glynn County workforce by 50 percent.
"These highly skilled positions will have a positive economic impact on the community as well as those who surround it," he said. "These jobs don't just add to a community, they help elevate its economic base."
Flynn also noted that the number of new jobs could grow.
"As you know, we like to under promise and over deliver," he said, referring to the job growth in Savannah, which has been considerably higher than originally announced.
Flynn thanked the governor and his economic development team, as well as the Glynn County
Board of Commissioners, the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority and the Glynn County Airport Commission for their help in putting the project together.
"As our fleet grows, so too must our product support organization," Flynn said. "We could not continue to grow without your help."
Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream Product Support, agreed.
"Brunswick played a significant role in what was a record-setting 2013 for our service organization worldwide," he said. "The growth of our fleet has increased the demand for aircraft maintenance and refurbishment. Expanding in Brunswick keeps us well-positioned to continue to provide the best customer service and product support available."
Gulfstream Brunswick, located about 75 miles south of Gulfstream headquarters in Savannah, has been a company site since 1992. In 2013, its employees serviced more than 150 aircraft. The service center is a certified U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, European Aviation Safety Agency and Transport Canada repair station. It had a payroll of $13.1 milliom last year.
Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, credited Gov. Nathan Deal's pro-business environment with attracting and retaining top-notch companies such as Gulfstream.
"Gulfstream's expansion here will be one of the most significant investments and increases in jobs that this county has seen in a long time," Carr said. "But this project isn't just significant for its size and investment. It's significant because of the partnership between a leading global company and the dedicated citizens of this community.
"We're also thrilled that Gulfstream will utilize another state partner -- Georgia's Quick Start, a workforce training program," he said.
"We're confident that the hard work that went into making this project a reality will pay big dividends in the future.
"This is a fantastic way to kick off 2014."
Copyright 2014 - Savannah Morning News, Ga.
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