General Dynamics, the defense conglomerate which owns Gulfstream Aerospace, is reporting a profit bump of 25 percent for the second quarter of 2008 over the same period last year. Strong sales of Gulfstream business jets are a large part of the reason for the Falls Church, Va.-based company’s recent success.
In a company-released statement, General Dynamics CEO Nicholas Chabraja said, “Growth in the aerospace backlog is a reflection of continued demand for the entire existing product line and extremely strong demand for the new Gulfstream G650.”
The G650, announced in March of this year, has caught the attention of the business aviation world, with order books for the jet already filled well into the next decade. When it is first delivered to customers in 2012, the G650 will be the fastest, farthest flying, and most expensive general aviation plane in the world.
The announcement of Gulfstream’s strong sales comes as the U.S. domestic private aviation market has shown signs of wavering in the last six months. Businesses and individuals are cutting back on flights as a larger slowdown has impacted large portions of the nation’s economy. In a period of tightened credit markets, the order backlog for the G650, which is priced at just under $ 60 million, is a testament to the deep interest in the plane and the increased proportion of foreign aircraft buyers. Since payments for a G650 are made in installments, even those buyers facing an economic crunch aren’t cancelling orders. However, if the recession drags on into next year and beyond, Gulfstream may begin to see cancellations affect the bottom line.