General Dynamics subsidiary Gulfstream Aerospace is flying high as one of the world's leading manufacturers of business jet aircraft. The company's fleet consists of eight types of aircraft at varying price and performance levels, ranging from the smallest plane, the eight-seat G150, to the newest and largest, the 18-seat G650. It also provides aircraft sales services for those looking to buy or trade in a pre-owned Gulfstream aircraft through its Gulfstream Pre-Owned Aircraft Sales unit. In addition, Gulfstream offers maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services to its customers through a network of about a dozen company-owned service centers worldwide.
Private companies and individual customers together account for approximately two-thirds of Gulfstream's total orders. Among companies, Gulfstream routinely markets its business jets to growing international corporations that need frequent and fast transportation. It also provides aircraft for the government and military sectors, which use the planes to transport heads of state and engage in special missions, such as aerial reconnaissance, maritime surveillance, weather research, and astronaut training.
In 2011 Gulfstream booked the highest number of orders since the economic downturn began in 2008. The sizable demand helped to increase its backlog to $17.9 billion. As a result, Gulfstream's revenues in 2011 increased by 13% to $6 billion. The growth was attributed to an increase in demand in emerging markets as well as increased large-cabin green sales, primarily the initial green deliveries of its first G650 aircraft in the fourth quarter.
To extend its geographical reach in the populous Asian market, in 2012 Gulfstream established a joint venture with Beijing Capital Airlines Co. Ltd. and Grand China Aviation Technik to operate a business jet service center at Beijing Capital International Airport. The deal made Gulfstream one of the first business jet original equipment manufacturers to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul services for customers in China. Establishing Gulfstream Beijing also helps its Chinese customers lower their maintenance costs and increase the availability of their aircraft.
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