Aviation sector takes spotlight
May 30, 2013
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  • GREENVILLE — Gulfstream is riding a wave of high demand for luxury business jets.

    In February, the company announced it was adding 100 jobs to meet production demands for the company’s new line of G650 jets with a base price of $58 million. It has received more than 200 orders for the planes, which has translated to a backlog of work for the company through 2017.

    Gulfstream’s success provided the backdrop for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s rally Thursday meant to spotlight the industry’s impact on the nation’s economy as well as Wisconsin.

    “(Bringing the event to) Gulfstream was a natural fit for us,” said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the aviation association. “They are our largest general aviation employer in the state and also the spirit of Gulfstream’s success was a great way for us to tell the story of general aviation.”

    The association said nationally, general aviation makes a $150 billion annual impact on the nation’s economy, supporting 1.2 million jobs. In Wisconsin, the sector makes a $3.5 billion impact, supporting 1,100 jobs, including nearly 900 at Gulfstream in Greenville.

    Greg Laabs, vice president and general manager for Gulfstream in Greenville, said the company’s work is recognized globally. Gulfstream’s Greenville site does finishing and design work on new jets as well as service work for jets in service around the world.

    “Our customers come from all over the world,” he said. “Our industry provides well-paying jobs and employs people outfitting some of today’s most technologically advanced business jets.”

    Gov. Scott Walker was among the numerous dignitaries who addressed attendees. He said improving the state’s business climate can help companies like Gulfstream continue to grow.

    “We’re going to do all we can to continue improving the climate, not just for (general aviation) but for all industries around the state,” Walker said.