SAVANNAH, Ga., March 6, 2006 -- Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), announced plans today for a $300 million, seven-year expansion of its manufacturing and service facilities in Savannah, Ga. As a result of the expansion, employment at the facility is expected to grow by some 1,100 jobs, a 25 percent increase from the current employment level of 4,300 employees.
In the presence of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis, Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson and other dignitaries, employees at the Gulfstream facility learned that their work site will expand nearly 70 percent in size by 2012.
"Gulfstream is the benchmark for business aviation throughout the world, and we are proud that the company is based in Georgia," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "The expansion of Gulfstream's manufacturing and service facilities will have a major impact on the state and local economy by creating more than one thousand new jobs."
First opened in 1967, Gulfstream's Savannah headquarters site includes initial phase manufacturing for the Gulfstream G550, G500, G450 and G350. The site also includes one of the company's five final phase manufacturing facilities and the largest of Gulfstream's 10 service centers.
"In the past four years we've seen strong, steady growth in our industry," Gulfstream President Bryan Moss said. "From 2004 to 2005, we experienced a 12 percent increase in aircraft production at our Savannah facility and we have every reason to believe that growth will continue. This expansion is necessary to meet the industry’s projected increase in demand for new business-jet aircraft and the maintenance that will follow.
"While Gulfstream may be an international company, our roots are deeply embedded in Georgia and Savannah," Moss continued. "We appreciate the assistance and cooperation we have received from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Savannah Economic Development Authority, Chatham County and the City of Savannah in supporting our site expansion."
To ensure a growing pool of potential employees to fill the more than 1,000 jobs created by this expansion plan, Gulfstream will participate in new job training programs. In addition to the State of Georgia's Quick Start program, Gulfstream will work with Savannah Technical College on programs specially tailored for Gulfstream's employment needs.
First, Savannah Technical College will open a new airframe and powerplant certification school to train and license future maintenance technicians. Second, the college will offer training paths in Structural Assembly/Avionics/Airframe and Powerplant; Structural Assembly/Wood Shop/Aircraft Interiors; Materials/Warehouse Distribution; and Administrative/Accounting/Customer Service. Gulfstream has guaranteed a job interview to any student who successfully completes one of these training paths.
The company's $300 million, seven-year, Long-Range Facilities Master Plan includes a new 570,000-square-foot service center -- more than twice the size of the existing Savannah Service Center. The new service center will be constructed on 76.6 acres at the southwest quadrant of the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport that will be leased from the Airport Commission. The southwest quadrant site also will include an independent fuel farm and a 42,600-square-foot, state-of-the-art paint hangar.