Maintenance at the Source
To find the foremost experts on Gulfstream aircraft, follow the path back to the source. Back to the place where thousands of engineers have logged millions of engineering hours. Where parts, structures and fixtures have been subjected to all manner of destructive and nondestructive testing. Where archives include hundreds of thousands of drawings and petabytes of data. Where the name on the hangar matches the name on the aircraft. And then ask yourself if there is any place on earth that knows a Gulfstream aircraft better than the company that built it?
Access to the award-winning Gulfstream Product Support network is a prized benefit of Gulfstream ownership—and a benefit that even some competitive aircraft owners utilize in locations around the globe.
The Gulfstream Product Support advantage is rooted in aircraft-specific knowledge and expertise as well as the reach and efficiency of the network. The world’s largest factory-owned service network, US$1.5 billion in parts inventory, and the legendary Field and Airborne Support Teams (FAST) create a holistic approach that reduces downtime and increases aircraft availability to a level that is the envy of the entire industry by NBAA standards.
Gulfstream’s maintenance staff includes 527 FlightSafety Master Technicians, and Gulfstream or Gulfstream operators employ 64 percent of the FlightSafety Master Technicians in the world. Gulfstream invested more than US$25.7 million in technical training for its 4,200 product support employees worldwide in 2014.
Joseph Rivera, general manager of the Gulfstream Savannah Service Center, oversees the world’s largest purpose-built business jet maintenance facility, a complex that stretches more than a quarter-mile in length with room for 36 aircraft under roof. But on most days there are 80-plus aircraft clamoring for world-class service in Savannah.
“What we do at our service locations is a reflection of our brand,” Rivera says. “We pledge to create and deliver the world’s finest aviation experience, not just the finest aircraft.”
The Value of Planning Ahead
The company’s massive parts inventory is a major contributor to the network’s efficiency. Gulfstream houses parts in 10 strategic locations in the United States, four locations in Asia, three locations in Europe, and one in the Middle East. Considering it takes at least 24 hours to move a part overseas, “having parts in regions is huge,” says Aubry Mayse, director, Planning and Inventory, Gulfstream.
“You can have the best mechanics and service centers in the world, but without the parts you can’t fix the aircraft,” Mayse says. “Having parts on location means immediate dispatch for our aircraft customers.”
The parts count for the 18 models Gulfstream supports, from the Gulfstream GII to the all-new Gulfstream G500 and G600, is nearly 500,000. Using product support data, Mayse and his team identified the 50,000 “most critical,” then narrowed that list to the 5,000 “super most critical” for strategic placement around the world calculated on where aircraft are based and most frequented.
Stocking service centers and distribution centers with parts premised on such information achieves rapid returns to service as a result of planning ahead.
Gulfstream Product Support responds quickly to nonroutine maintenance situations as well. The mobile response Field and Airborne Support Teams are increasingly popular in aircraft-on-ground situations, but Gulfstream also employs 51 field service representatives positioned worldwide to provide guidance to operators as well as a Technical Operations team that can give assistance while aircraft are in flight.
“Our aircraft, our product support and our people will always exceed customer expectations—and our customers have high expectations.”
Gulfstream Product Support’s Consider it Done™ attitude underscores the value in bringing the aircraft to the manufacturer for maintenance. “Why do you take your high-performance automobile to the automobile dealer and not to the corner garage? Because it’s an investment and you want to go to where the experts are who know the machine the best,” says Mitch Choquette, director, Customer Support and Field Service, Gulfstream.
Gulfstream is continually expanding its service network, be it through a new parts distribution center near the Savannah, Georgia, headquarters; an expanded service center in São Paulo, Brazil; or the addition of a FAST maintenance engineer in Malaysia.
Sometimes Gulfstream will even dispatch technicians from FAST to non-Gulfstream service centers to make repairs and help get a customer’s aircraft serviced properly and back in the air.
“Our team continues to grow at a fast pace to meet the demands of a growing fleet around the world,” says Mark Burns, President, Gulfstream Product Support. “The customer resources we’ve added enable us to achieve the goal that we talk about every day: creating and delivering the world’s finest aviation experience.”
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