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Monday, May 17, 2010 - 1:35pm

Gulfstream Aerospace Sees Light

Savannah's largest employer is reporting a tepid turn-around after a recession-hit 2009.

Gulfstream Aerospace officials told investors recently that first quarter revenues were up 15% compared to the last quarter.

A company spokesman told GPB that another sign of recovery is year-to-year operating margins, which increased from 13.7% to 16.1% across the entire aviation division of General Dynamics, Gulfstream's parent company.

Last year, the Savannah manufacturing facility laid off 1,200 workers and furloughed 2,200 more for five weeks.

This year, the furlough is two weeks.

The company plans to deliver 91 new jets in 2010.

The impact of all this on employment, however, is uncertain.

"We're hiring modestly in areas of specific need, such as engineering," says company spokesman Jeff Miller, "Business aviation tends to lag three to four quarters behind the rest of the economy, so we're expecing a gradual recovery."

Gulfstream Aerospace has about 5,000 employees in the Savannah area.

The company recently tested its new G650 jet at mach .925.

That would make it the fastest and longest-range business jet in the world.

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