Increased orders from some of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers have propelled rising employment at Goodrich Aerostructures in Chula Vista.
At midyear, the maker of nacelles, thrust reversers and pylons for commercial aircraft, had 2,039 full-time direct employees at its South Bay headquarters, up from 1,959 at the same time last year. Through the end of June, the company hired 130 full-time workers. Goodrich also maintains a fluctuating staff of contracted workers which pushed the total work force above 2,300, according to Goodrich spokesman Patrick Palmer.
Perhaps more newsworthy is the fact that the hiring trend shows no signs of slowing.
“Right now, we’ve got 192 openings that we’re looking to fill,” said Palmer. “We’re hiring like gangbusters because we have so much work.”
The jobs are mainly in various aspects of aerospace engineering, including design, stress, and manufacturing engineers.
Goodrich’s largess didn’t happen overnight and is the result of major contract wins dating back to 2004 from the likes of Boeing, Airbus SAS, Bombardier Aerospace and Mitsubishi.
Earlier this year, Airbus selected Goodrich to provide the nacelles for the new Pratt & Whitney engines being installed in the Airbus A320neo (new engine option), for its best-selling, single aisle jet.
Goodrich Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., reported net income of $586.6 million on revenue of $6.96 billion last year, compared with net income of $597.3 million on revenue of $6.68 billion in 2009. Last month, the company raised its revenue estimates for this year to $8.1 billion from the previous estimate of $7.8 billion.
The most high profile aircraft program Goodrich is providing nacelles is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The jet that uses lighter, composite materials to save on jet fuel has been fraught with problems that have pushed its initial delivery to later this quarter, three years past its initially scheduled debut. Boeing has blamed the delays on problems in getting parts made by outsourced suppliers, but the program has also seen setbacks because of a machinists union strike, and most recently, an electrical fire that occurred during a test flight. Boeing recently said the third quarter delivery of its first 787s is on track.
In the meantime, Goodrich continues to win other big contracts that will keep its staff busy.
Among these are the next version of the Dreamliner called 787-9, scheduled to enter service in 2013; the Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body), a direct competitor to the 787 Dreamliner scheduled to enter into service in late 2013; and the Bombardier CSeries, a medium range jet developed by Canada-based Bombardier which also incorporates a higher percentage of composites into the jet; and Mitsubishi Regional Jet, a smaller commercial aircraft seating about 90 that will be the first jetliner produced by Japan since the 1960s.
Besides producing the nacelles, which include thrust reverser systems that are part of the jet engines, Goodrich provides all the maintenance to its equipment, also called its after market business.
That part of Goodrich Corp.’s operations made a big impact in the company’s most recent quarterly report. It forecast an overall increase of 13 percent annually in commercial after market revenue in 2010.
Kenneth Herbert, an analyst covering Goodrich for Wedbush Securities in San Francisco, said the company delivered “a blow-out second quarter” which beat the consensus of forecasted results by analysts.
Herbert said Goodrich estimated after market business increases are conservative and thinks it’ll be closer to 15 percent, while annual revenue will finish in a range from $8.7 billion to $9.4 billion.
Because of those increases, Herbert raised his target price on the stock this year to $119, from his earlier target of $102. At July 27, shares, traded under GR on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $94.38, and have ranged from $67.71 to $99.67 over the past 52 weeks.
Although virtually all the job openings at Goodrich’s local plant are for skilled professionals, the facility still has manufacturing lines and employs 534 production workers or about a quarter of its total local workforce. Palmer said openings for these jobs are rarely advertised as the unionized positions are mainly filled by recalling earlier laid-off workers.
In addition to its Chula Vista headquarters, Goodrich Aerostructures has 13 other locations, including plants in Riverside and Mexicali. The latter has grown from 259 workers about a year ago to just under 400 today, Palmer said.
The parent firm also owns and operates a design center in Bangalore, India with some 500 employees, which supports other business units besides Aerostructures.