Gov. Nathan Deal stopped by the G650 manufacturing facility Friday to help Savannah-based Gulfstream Aerospace celebrate General Aviation Manufacturing Week and thank the global company for its commitment to Savannah and the state.
“Georgia appreciates Gulfstream’s presence here for a number of reasons. Not only have they provided jobs and investment here, but they have helped put Savannah on the global stage when it comes to doing business,” he said. “Gulfstream is recognized throughout the world as the leader in business aviation. As they grow their profile around the world, Georgia’s reputation as a great place for business will grow, too.”
Deal said one of the best policy decisions the state made was to remove the sales tax on energy for manufacturers such as Gulfstream.
“By helping to reduce their energy costs, we have helped reduce their cost of doing business, and it’s paid big benefits for the industry here.
“It also helps other manufacturers see that we’re a state that gets it,” he said.
Ira Berman, Gulfstream senior vice president and general counsel, thanked Gulfstream employees for their “tireless work to create and deliver the world’s finest aviation experience.”
“You truly reflect the spirit of this week, which recognizes the tremendous importance of general aviation and its 1.2 million employees to local, state and national economies,” he told them.
Gulfstream has been a significant presence in Savannah for close to 50 years, its growth exploding in the last decade with two major expansion projects totalling nearly $1 billion and creating more than 4,000 new jobs.
Today, Gulfstream business jets are sold worldwide, with approximately 60 percent of the company’s $13 billion order backlog destined for customers outside the U.S.
“We used to be a Savannah-based company that did some business internationally,” Berman said.
“Today, we’re an international company that is proud to be based in Savannah.”
What Gulfstream does in Savannah — and around the world — contributes significantly to the $150 billion in U.S. economic activity that general aviation supports annually, Berman said.
“That economic activity is vital to the strength and success of our local communities. Think of the engineer who can provide for her family because of increased business-jet deliveries, or the hotel janitor who maintains his job because pilots are training at Flight Safety, or the construction worker who can send his daughter to college because the local aviation manufacturer is expanding,” he said.
“The Gulfstream employees standing here today are the face of general aviation. They’re your neighbors, your brothers, your friends. General Aviation Manufacturing Week is meant to shine a light on them.
“And it’s meant to show that global growth has local impact.”
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. opened here in 1967. It’s Savannah headquarters is home to the initial and final-phase production of the G4540, G550, G650 and G650ER. It also features a research and development campus, a sales and design center and the largest business jet service center in the world, Nearly 10,000 of Gulfstream employees worldwide are based in Savannah, creating an annual payroll for 2013 of $783 million.