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Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. on Oct. 21 announced that Solairus Aviation, a private aviation services company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently took delivery of the first Gulfstream G600 aircraft for use in part 135 or charter operations. The aircraft will be based at San Francisco International Airport.
“Solairus is thrilled to have the world’s first G600 available for charter flights,” said Dan Drohan, chief executive officer at Solairus. “This aircraft immediately caught our attention when it was announced in October 2014, and it has lived up to its billing. Our pilots who have flown it are already very fond of its revolutionary flight deck, and our discerning customers will discover that the cabin is so comfortable and functional, they will forget it’s one of the fastest business jets on the market.”
In addition to offering charter services on the G600, Solairus will also handle the jet’s aircraft management, ensuring that all aspects of operation and safety are taken care of, from maintenance to flight crew to Federal Aviation Administration regulatory compliance.
Solairus manages more than 50 Gulfstream aircraft and uses approximately half in charter operations.
“Solairus has been an extremely valued customer of ours since 2009,” said Gulfstream president Mark Burns. “We are proud that nearly a third of its managed fleet are Gulfstream aircraft, from the Gulfstream G650 to the Gulfstream G200, and honoured that it will be the first G600 charter operator.”
The G600, which entered service on Aug. 8, 2019, can fly 6,500 nautical miles/12,038 kilometres at Mach 0.85 and 5,500 nm/10,186 km at Mach 0.90. Its maximum operating speed is Mach 0.925.
The G600 has a long, wide cabin and can be configured for up to four living areas, including the option for a fixed bed.
The G600 features the award-winning Symmetry Flight Deck, which includes active control sidesticks and 10 touch screens, both industry firsts. The aircraft’s interior earned top honors in Private Jet Design at the 2018 International Yacht & Aviation Awards.
Gulfstream has also announced it has dedicated a hangar, operations center and team of technicians specifically for midcabin aircraft at its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Ill.
While other Gulfstream maintenance facilities will continue to support the company’s worldwide fleet of approximately 560 midcabin aircraft, Gulfstream St. Louis will be an ideal destination for many midcabin operators because of its prime location and dedicated resources. About 70 percent of Gulfstream’s midcabin fleet is based in the U.S.
“We have designated Gulfstream St. Louis as a midcabin maintenance center of excellence,” said Derek Zimmerman, president, Gulfstream Customer Support. “The designation is our way of reinforcing our ongoing commitment to midcabin customers. The centrally located site has the personnel, skills, experience, knowledge, tooling, manuals and capacity to produce the quality and efficient work expected by our customers. It will truly be a one-stop MRO for our midcabin customers’ maintenance and refurbishment needs.”
Gulfstream Dallas remains the company’s facility for midcabin completions and provides maintenance for all Gulfstream aircraft. St. Louis’ enhancements come amid a series of Customer Support expansions: Gulfstream is accepting customers at new maintenance facilities in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Savannah, and will open new service centers in 2020 in Van Nuys, Calif.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Farnborough, U.K.
Gulfstream St. Louis’ dedicated midcabin hangar comprises 70,348 square feet/6,536 square metres, which includes 30,000 sq ft/2,787 sq m of hangar space and nearly 20,000 sq ft/1,858 sq m of back shop space. The support space includes an operations center staffed by a cross-functional team of representatives from Planning, Materials and Service Center Operations responsible for optimizing a customer’s maintenance visit.
In addition, the hangar will be the base for a service team manager and team of technicians focused solely on maintenance, including airframe inspections and repair, avionics installations and upgrades and interior refurbishments for the company’s entire line of in-production and legacy midcabin aircraft: Gulfstream G280, Gulfstream G200, Gulfstream G150 and Gulfstream G100.
Gulfstream St. Louis’ refurbishment capabilities include full cabinet fabrication and finish, upholstery, composites and paint.
Gulfstream added St. Louis, a former completions and maintenance facility for sister company Jet Aviation, to its service center network in September 2017. The site is a certified U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency part 145 repair station, which means its 420 employees can work on large-cabin and midcabin aircraft registered in the U.S. and European Union countries. In 2018, Gulfstream St. Louis had more than 340 aircraft visits. It has approximately 638,000 sq ft/59,272 sq m of hangar, shop and support space.