Gulfstream has announced a deal with Israeli Aircraft Industries to boost production of its smaller G200 and G150 aircraft. Gulfstream President Joe Lombardo told a news conference in Israel last week that the Israeli company will make at least 70 jets this year, up from 58 in 2007 and almost three times the production in 2006. "Rising fuel prices don´t seem to be impacting our sales," Lombardo told reporters at IAI´s headquarters at Ben-Gurion Airport. "Demand remains high. Furthermore, the dollar´s decline signifies higher sales to our international customers."
IAI is a state-owned company that also builds weapons and electronics. The joint venture with Gulfstream began seven years ago and Lombardo made the trip to celebrate the rollout of the 200th G200 at the plant. The Gulfstream venture was aimed at diversifying IAI to the civilian market, possibly with a plan to privatize part of it. The Israeli government is reportedly thinking of selling 30 percent of IAI on the stock market.