Gulfstream is reducing its total workforce by nearly 7% a month before releasing production rate plans for 2016. The end-year lay-off includes about 600 contractors and about 500 employees in indirect support positions, Gulfstream says.
A routine internal evaluation recommended “streamlining our business to position Gulfstream for continued success”, the company says. The move marks the first publicly announced staff change since 2010, when the company announced plans to hire up to 1,000 workers over a five-year period.
At the time, the company was increasing production rates of the G450 and G550 at the same time as it was completing certification of the G650, which is now in full-rate production, and the super mid-size G280. It wouldn't be revealed until four years later, but Gulfstream also in 2010 had kicked off design and development of two new large cabin and long-range jets – the G500 and G600.
As the G500 and G600 enter service in 2018 and 2019, respectively, Gulfstream officials have emphasised that they are intended to complement – rather than replace – the G450 and G550.
But falling demand in the large cabin segment of the business jet market has already forced Bombardier to slash production rates in 2016 for the Global 5000 and Global 6000 jets by nearly half.
So far, Gulfstream has been able to keep G450 and G550 deliveries going at a steady rate. But combined deliveries of G450s and G550s declined from 80 in 2013 to 67 in 2014. With nearly one month of delivery activity still to come, Gulfstream has delivered 48 G450s and G550s combined so far in 2015, the database shows. But delivery rates can fluctuate depending on the amount of completion work each customer needs after the jets roll off the assembly line. Gulfstream’s assembly lines in Savannah, Georgia, may not be running at peak 2013 levels, but they haven’t been sharply reduced either. “Our production rate remains largely unchanged for this year,” Gulfstream says. “We are evaluating 2016 production rates right now, and [parent company] General Dynamics will announce those in late January as part of the year-end earnings call. As such, we can't make any comments about 2016 rates.”