Gulfstream Announces 60-aircraft Deal

April 16--Savannah-based business jet manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. on Tuesday announced a deal to sell 60 aircraft to a Chinese leasing company, one of the largest orders in Gulfstream's history.

The agreement, finalized in the fourth quarter of 2013 with Minsheng Financial Leasing Co., includes firm orders for 40 airplanes and options for 20 more. Financial details were not disclosed, although a conservative estimate puts the deal in the billions of dollars.

The order spans the range of Gulfstream products, from the super mid-size G280 to Gulfstream's flagship, the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650. Deliveries are expected to start in 2015.

"This agreement speaks to the industry-leading performance, comfort, safety and reliability of the Gulfstream aircraft," said Larry Flynn, Gulfstream president, adding that the jet maker has a range of products that match the needs of Minsheng customers.

"Minsheng has quickly become the largest fleet owner in China and has been a leading visionary in the business aviation market," Flynn said. "We are thrilled with their confidence in Gulfstream and look forward to working with them throughout the delivery process and beyond."

Private jet use in China is small but growing rapidly, backed by demand from wealthy individuals and Chinese companies operating overseas, according to industry officials.

Minsheng Financial Leasing was formed in 2008 by China Minsheng Banking Corp. and Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone Investment. It was one of the first leasing companies to receive approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Minsheng

"Minsheng has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Gulfstream," said Johnny Lau, vice president of the company's aviation leasing division.

"Gulfstream products combine reliability, performance, comfort and efficiency to provide a world-class flying experience for our customers. In addition, Gulfstream's high-standard product support was a major contributor to our decision to move forward with this agreement."

The two companies held a signing ceremony Tuesday at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai.

Copyright 2014 - Savannah Morning News, Ga.

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