Economic pounding continues as Gulfstream lays off 699 in Savannah

A C-37B Gulfstream 550 aircraft is marshalled through the flightline at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in December. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kentavist P. Brackin)
A C-37B Gulfstream 550 aircraft is marshalled through the flightline at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in December. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kentavist P. Brackin)

Gulfstream is cutting 699 jobs in Georgia as part of reductions across the company, according to the Savannah-based business.

Gulfstream, one of Georgia’s premier manufacturers, joined the ranks of companies slashing jobs as the spread of the coronavirus triggered lockdowns, supply chain problems and a plunge in business travel.

The company, which makes and sells business and military jets, is simply not going to be selling and delivering as many jets as it had planned this year, said company spokeswoman Heidi Fedak.

"The coronavirus crisis has impacted Gulfstream's business operations," she said.

As the company announced the layoffs, other large Georgia manufacturers were returning workers to assembly lines: Both Kia Motors Manufacturing and Toyo Tires, which had shut down operations in March, were to re-start operations this week. Meanwhile, Gov. Brian Kemp has lifted many restrictions that had closed small businesses like restaurants, gyms, salons, barbershops and bowling alleys.

In light of the business impact, Gulfstream tried to postpone the layoffs, Fedak said. “We … implemented several cost-cutting measures across the business to address the challenges caused by this pandemic. Unfortunately, those measures alone were not sufficient.”

The company had to “balance” itself with the current business conditions, she said. “As a result, we recently made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce at multiple locations across our company.”

Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.

Gulfstream has about 17,000 employees worldwide, including 11,000 in Georgia. Most of the Georgia employees are in Savannah.

In the past six weeks, the Georgia Department of Labor has processed applications from nearly 1.4 million people requesting jobless benefits after losing their jobs or their income.

Many layoffs happened quietly. Restaurants went to takeout only or shuttered altogether, hotels trimmed staff, contract workers of all kinds were shown the door.

But some companies were required to file notice with the Department of Labor. Among the recent layoff announcements: Aludyne Columbus is cutting 166 jobs in Columbus, Haverty's Furniture Cos. in Braselton is laying off 122, Hertz is cutting 162 positions in College Park

Coral Hospitality, which runs hotels, resorts and clubs, is slashing 476 jobs in Helen, Young Harris, Fort Gaines, Cordele, McRae and Dawsonville.