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Contract Disputes Threatens the Gulfstream G500 and G600

Could a wrench in the supply chain throw the launch of Gulfstream’s newest business jets off track?

Gulfstream G500 and G600 tandem flight Photo: courtesy Gulfstream

A contract dispute between Pratt & Whitney Canada (a division of U.S. aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney) and Oklahoma-based aerospace firm Nordam has halted production of a critical piece of equipment for Gulfstream’s upcoming G500 and G600 business jets. With Gulfstream expecting both models to receive certification at the end of the year, the big unknown is how, if at all, this setback could affect the timing of deliveries of the new jets.

Like most relationships, the partnership between Pratt & Whitney Canada and Nordam to build components for the G500 and G600 started out on a high note when it was signed in 2010. However, things seemed to have turned sour earlier this year, culminating with the news that Nordam stopped production of the engine nacelles (the protective covering that houses the jet turbines) for the Gulfstreams just days ago.

In a statement, Nordam CEO Meredith Madden said that the halt came “after months of unsuccessful attempts to resolve a contract dispute with Pratt & Whitney Canada,” but she did not delve into specifics. For its part, a rep from Pratt & Whitney Canada said that the company “has worked diligently for more than a year with our contracted supplier Nordam to resolve their challenges on the PW800 nacelle program.” In a thinly veiled threat, the company added, “We will hold them accountable.”

Gulfstream G500

Gulfstream G500  Photo: Courtesy Gulfstream/Matt Stephan

So what effect will this development have on deliveries of the G500 and G600? Well, if Pratt & Whitney is to be believed, very little. According to the company, “We are taking all measures to minimize the impact on our customer’s aircraft programs.” Although, when the nacelle was designed and developed with Nordam specifically, that will likelier be easier said than done; these aren’t the sorts of things you can buy stock from another supplier. In fact, it was a certification problem with the nacelle that pushed deliveries of the two jets from 2017 back to 2018.

That said, until we hear otherwise from Gulfstream, we’ll keep looking forward to deliveries of the G500 and G600 starting by the end of the year.

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