Gulfstream eyes African market as it displays latest business jet in Kigali

Gulfstream’s largest market segment has been large corporations, but they say there are changing consumer trends and a growing demand from private individuals.
Gulfstream’s latest G500 Airplane at Kigali International Airport, Kanombe on Wednesday. (Photos by Emmanuel Kwizera)

Gulfstream Aerospace,an American manufacturer of business jet aircraft, has said that it is eyeing the African market as it continues to strategically position itself in a market whose landscape has changed.

Hedi Fedak, the company’s director of corporate communications, told The New Times while showcasing their latest business jet in Kigali that the firm was committed to grow its market share in Africa.

“We have a very strong presence here on the continent. We have more than 80 aircraft in Africa, and that is pretty significant. This is a big deal for us to be here [in Africa], and particularly here at the aviation show. That is an indication of how important we think this market is,” she noted.

Fedek said they have a tendency of constantly bringing new unique aircraft to the market and that they are driven by the “mindset of continuous improvement”, all of which will arguably position them in markets like in Sub-Saharan Africa and others.

Gulfstream’s largest market segment has been large corporations, but they say there are changing consumer trends and a growing demand from private individuals.

Gulfstream is showcasing its latest business jet, G500, in Kigali on the sidelines of the Africa Aviation Summit, a two-day meeting currently convening stakeholders from the aviation sector.

The Gulfstream G500 was certified last year in July and deliveries began in September, and according to officials, there are already more than 10 jets of this kind in service around the world.

Gulfstream’s  Director of Corporate Communications, Heidi Fedak (right) speaks to Julius Bizimungu inside the latest G500 at Kigali International Airport, Kanombe.

“Our vision for this airplane is to make it the most technologically advanced and one of the fastest business jets in our fleet. There are a number of advancements and enhancements we’ve made to make it more technologically advanced and innovative,” she said.

Some of these advancements include the cabin environment which provides 100 per cent fresh air, fastest speed of 956 kilometres per hour, fast wireless connectivity, bespoke conference area and private room, among other things.

The G500’s nonstop reach connects distant cities such as Kigali to London capital of UK, Istanbul to Cape Town in South Africa, Los Angeles to London, and San Francisco to Tokyo in Japan.

They believe this will give them a competitive advantage not just in their existing markets but in other markets where they are potential customers.

According to Fedak, Gulfstream has invested over $1 billion in research and development, manufacturing facilities, state of the art technology, and customer support network, all of which she argued that differentiates Gulfstream and put them years ahead of where other companies are in this space.

Gulfstream, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, has been designing, developing, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing some of the renowned private jets, including G650ER, G650, G600, G550, and G280.

The company’s commitment towards innovation, officials say, continues to give them a competitive edge over other players in the industry and has enabled increased sales over the years.

Typical Passenger seats up to 19.

Last year, Gulfstream Aerospace’s revenue stood at $8.5 billion, representing a 36 per cent increase year-on-year. It delivered 121 planes during the same year.

This year, it projects to make sales worth $9.7 billion from 145 business jets.



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