S.A. company lands deal to customize another jet

Aug. 13, 2007

Gore Design Completions celebrated the arrival of its first Airbus project on Friday -- then announced that its second Airbus jet will arrive next summer.

The two projects will mean nearly $60 million in revenue for the San Antonio-based company, which converts empty planes, called "green" jets, into flying palaces.

"This is the first of many projects," founder and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Gore said. "This international partnership raises the profile of San Antonio throughout the world."

The first jet, which arrived Thursday night straight from Airbus' assembly line in Toulouse, France, is an Airbus A320. The jet, which is built to have a single-center aisle, has 1,033 square feet of space to work with.

Designers already have started making the furniture and fixtures that will go in the plane, which is destined for a Central Asian head of state.

The next jet is an A340, which is built to have two aisles. That plane is destined for an African leader.

The A340 also will be the largest jet Gore has ever worked on, according to the company's president, Kathy Gore.

"We signed the contract July 13," she said. "We were in-country nine days negotiating. These two contracts are worth approximately $60 million. And we're working on a third."

Neither of the Gores would say who is getting the two Airbus jets. The Gores pride themselves on secrecy, even refusing to comment on the widely reported work they did in 2006 on a Boeing 737 for the founders of Google. Though when asked about that plane Friday, Jerry Gore let it slip that the jet is "long gone."

The Gores expect to finish work on the first Airbus in six months. The second jet will take 10 to 12 months, even though designers already are starting work on that project.

"This is a very big deal," Mayor Phil Hardberger said. "This ties Airbus to San Antonio. We need San Antonio to branch out with a little bit more international business."