Gulfstream to leave Long Beach, taking about 700 jobs with it

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced it will wind down its Long Beach operations in phases, ultimately moving some 700 jobs to other facilities around the country.

The company has made significant investments in new facilities in Florida, Texas and England as well as expanding its facilities in Savannah, Georgia—where it is headquartered—Appleton, Wisconsin, and Van Nuys.

“By leveraging these newer, more modern locations and synergies across the network, we can further enhance the overall experience for our customers, whether they’re taking delivery of a new aircraft or scheduling service,” President Mark Burns said in a statement.

The company will phase out Long Beach service and completions operations over the next six months, transferring services to other facilities gradually to avoid any lapse in business. The company’s Van Nuys facility will take over service work, while the Savannah and Appleton facilities will take over completions.

Long Beach employees will be given the opportunity to apply for positions at the three facilities. The Pacific Gateway Innovation Network has already connected with Gulfstream and will provide “virtual rapid response services,” including connections to local and regional job opportunities, for impacted employees, airport spokesperson Kate Kuykendall said in an email.

Earlier this year, Pacific Gateway was awarded a $900,000 grant from the state to provide technical assistance to local, regional and national aerospace and aviation companies that were forced to downsize as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Curt Castagna, president and CEO of Aeroplex and Aerolease Group, said the announcement is a major blow to Long Beach.

“It’s very disappointing news for the city and the state,” Castagna said. “It’s a tremendous loss and will have a trickle-down effect on … families, the hotel industry, the rental car industry and other support services.”

Castagna said that while other states have been courting Gulfstream and other businesses with incentives and more business-friendly regulations, Long Beach leaders and the state have not made a conscious effort to keep the company here.

Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, whose 5th District includes the airport, echoed Castagna.

“We understand the business decision,” Mungo said. “California has challenges competing with other states.”

Gulfstream currently occupies some 455,000 square feet—22.5 acres—including 250,000 square feet of hangar space. About 45 miles away, the Van Nuys facility is a fraction of that size, at just over 1.5 acres—66,000 square feet, including 43,000 square feet of hangar space, enough to accommodate four Gulfstream G650ER or G650 aircraft.

The company first set up shop in Long Beach in 1986. Last year, it enacted a five-year lease extension to 2024, according to airport staff. In 2018, Gulfstream won a bid for 20 acres of former Boeing property for millions of dollars of redevelopment that would have included multiple hangers, plans that were paused in 2019 and will now never come to fruition.

In all, once Gulfstream has fully vacated Long Beach, the airport will have about 42.5 acres of space to backfill.

“We are saddened by today’s news that Gulfstream will be phasing out their operations in Long Beach,” airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in an email. “During this time of unprecedented disruption to the aviation industry, difficult business decisions must be made.”

One added benefit of Gulfstream operating out of Van Nuys is the airport’s U.S. customs facility, which allows it to receive direct international flights. Gulfstream spokesperson Heidi Fedak said Long Beach’s lack of a customs facility was not a factor in the company’s decision to exit Long Beach.

Gulfstream is the second major aviation company to announce its departure from Long Beach this year. After 20 years in the city, JetBlue flew its final flights into and out of Long Beach earlier this month, with Southwest Airlines absorbing the abandoned daily flight slots.

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Brandon Richardson is a business reporter, covering everything from real estate and healthcare to the airport and port to city hall and the economy. He is a Long Beach native who has been with the Business Journal since graduating from Long Beach City College in spring 2016 with an associate’s degree in journalism. He is an avid record collector and concert goer.
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