Gulfstream Aerospace [NYSE: GD] is expanding its footprint in Texas. The business and private aircraft manufacturer opened its newest Gulfstream Customer Support service center at Fort Worth Alliance Airport (KAFW) Tuesday and marked the occasion with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the facility. Federal, state, local dignitaries, community leaders and Gulfstream leadership were all present to celebrate the opening.
Gulfstream invested more than $55 million in the 162,000-square-foot MRO facility at KAFW, building hangars and shop space, support areas, and employee and customer offices, it said in a statement. Additionally, there will be room for nine Gulfstream G650ER aircraft in the hangar space and six on the ramp.
For context, the overall wingspan of a G650ER is 99 feet, 7 inches—the equivalent to seven cars parked in succession.
“This new facility will serve our significant customer base in Texas and those traveling in the region from throughout the U.S. It will also serve the volume of Gulfstream traffic we see in the area coming from Mexico, Central, and South America, and around the world,” said Derek Zimmerman, president of Gulfstream Customer Support.
Training and Hiring Locally
Gulfstream also announced it is establishing a new partnership with the Tarrant County College’s airframe and powerplant (A&P) program as a pipeline for new technician hires. It will also work with local educational institutions to develop and train the local workforce and build the talent pipeline in the community. At full force, the new facility will accommodate approximately 200 employees. The OEM indicated in February 2020 when it announced the Alliance expansion, that some of the new hires would come from its workforce at Dallas Love Field (KLUV).
The new facility adds to Gulfstream’s already sprawling presence in Dallas, 35 miles away, which employed at its peak more than 600 workers. Aside from being a strategic maintenance facility for customers, KLUV is also where Gulfstream outfits the G600 interior. The G600 is known for its next-generation Symmetry Flight Deck with active control sidesticks and touch-screen technology.
About 30 to 80 employees will remain at Love Field to continue to provide on-site and transient operators with maintenance and service. Additionally, the mid and large-cabin aircraft completions business, which includes about 350 employees and five hangars, will also continue to operate at Love Field.
Strategic Growth To Support Worldwide Fleet
And, it’s not just Dallas/Fort Worth that Gulfstream has in its sights. Zimmerman pointed out that Gulfstream plans to increase its footprint as much as practical.
“The Fort Worth Alliance opening marks another milestone in Gulfstream’s overarching strategy to enhance the convenience and increase support offerings for our customers,” Zimmerman said. The company currently provides maintenance support to more than 3,000 in-service aircraft worldwide.
In addition to Fort Worth Alliance, Gulfstream Customer Support has recently expanded its facilities in Farnborough, England; Savannah, Georgia; Appleton, Wisconsin; Van Nuys, California; and Palm Beach, Florida.
In 2021, the OEM said it will also be opening a facility in Arizona to support customers operating from and through the U.S. West Coast. The $70 million, 225,000-square-foot facility at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (KIWA) is scheduled to open in 2023.