Gulfstream Aerospace comes to EBACE 2022 with plans to expand its support of European operators flying its large-cabin jets. Gulfstream Customer Support president Derek Zimmerman told AIN the enhanced support will include an expansion of its technical support contact center to its Farnborough service center, which opened nearly two years ago. “The 24/7 contact center is currently based out of Gulfstream’s Savannah [Georgia] headquarters and this is the first time we are expanding into Europe,” he said.
The expansion calls for adding mechanical systems specialists, as well as avionics and cabin communications experts, at the Farnborough contact center. Additionally, the OEM has assigned a new field service representative for Spain, who will be based in Madrid. Gulfstream’s growing fleet and presence in Spain prompted the addition of a representative there, Zimmerman said.
Besides its 225,000-sq-ft (20,903-sq-m) Farnborough service center—which features sustainability measures such as rainwater harvesting, radiant heating systems in the hangar and intelligent lighting controls—Gulfstream’s customer support options in Europe extend to sister company Jet Aviation’s facilities in Vienna, Geneva, Basel, and Zurich, as well as authorized warranty service provider Altenrhein Aviation in Thal, Switzerland. Those operations are augmented by 26 Field and Airborne Support Team (FAST) members in Europe and the UK.
With Gulfstream’s G700 set as the next twinjet to come online, Zimmerman emphasized that customer support team staff are involved in the design and development of new aircraft. As the company prepares for a new model’s service entry, Gulfstream establishes customer operational readiness (COR) teams to prepare customers to receive the model.
The COR team’s makeup typically includes a cabin systems specialist, an entry-into-service pilot, and a COR representative who works with the customer until they have familiarity with the aircraft. “These teams go to our customers’ facilities and review their capabilities and needs on-site, so we can make any necessary recommendations to help our customers operate their new aircraft successfully,” Zimmerman added.
Beyond Europe, Gulfstream continues to add to its customer support network. In July, Zimmerman said he expects the company to open its 160,000-sq-ft (14,864-sq-m) service center at Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Texas. The company plans to transfer customer-support employees from its Dallas Love Field facility to Fort Worth, in addition to creating 50 new jobs.
Gulfstream’s newest service center will be a 225,000-sq-ft facility in Mesa, Arizona, where the company is on track to open in late 2023, Zimmerman said. Ahead of that opening, Gulfstream began hiring there and is operating out of a hangar it opened in March.
“The existing facility [in Mesa] includes a large hangar that can hold multiple large-cabin Gulfstreams, customer office space, a tool room, and spare parts inventory,” he explained. “A variety of routine inspections and maintenance for all Gulfstream in-service aircraft are offered, as well as AOG/drop-in support to address any immediate needs customers may have.”
Earlier this month, Gulfstream announced it would expand its completions operations at its St. Louis Downtown Airport facility in Illinois to increase cabinetry and exterior paint production for its large-cabin twinjets.
That expansion will include the hiring of 140 additional cabinetmakers and finishers, upholsterers, aircraft painters, manufacturing and operations engineers, and certification inspectors, as well as additional support positions. The St. Louis center services large-cabin and midsize aircraft with U.S. or European registration under its FAA and EASA Part 145 certificates.