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Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 8:23am

Gulfstream Sales Jump 30%

Sales of two newly-certified aircraft helped boost revenues at Savannah-based luxury jet manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace.

The firm's corporate parent, Viginia-based General Dynamics, announced on Wednesday that its aerospace group sales were $1.8 billion in the third quarter, up 30% from the same period a year ago.

General Dynamics CEO Jay Johnson said the numbers are largely due to higher deliveries of new aircrafts, including the G650, Gulfstream's Savannah-made ultra high-speed and ultra long-range flagship product.

The Federal Aviation Administration certified the air-worthiness of the G650's design in September. The agency also certified the G280, a new large-cabin, mid-range jet. Revenues have soared on the news.

"The Aerospace group enjoyed a very successful third quarter, marked by improved order activity and the achievement of FAA type certification on our G280 and G650 aircraft," Johnson says. "Both aircraft are enjoying robust customer interest."

Johnson said that a turnaround in the North American economy appears to be driving some of the sales.

"Year-to-date, North American customers represent nearly 60% of Gulfstream's order book," Johnson says. "This metric represents the resurgence of North American demand and some softening in the international demand, driven by political uncertainty in some regions and the overall negative impact of the European debt crisis on global economic sentiment."

Gulfstream Aerospace is one of Savannah's largest private employers with about 2,500 workers.