Curtis Reusser, CEO of Goodrich Aerostructures, has described the company's operations in the past year as being in a "real crunch mode." "This has been a record for what used to be Rohr," said Reusser, referring to the company and South Bay economic powerhouse that once operated the Chula Vista plant. Worth an estimated at $5.7 billion, the company, based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest suppliers of aircraft parts to Boeing (NYSE: BA), Airbus and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The Chula Vista plant serves as headquarters for the company's aerostructures division, which manufactures nacelles (covered housings that hold engines, fuel or equipment) and interior products, and offers technical support to its customers. The plant is comprised of more than 2,000 employees.
In January, Goodrich penned a deal with Airbus to manufacture nacelle and thrust reverser systems for the airplane maker's A350 XWB aircraft. The contract is expected to generate approximately $10 billion in original equipment and aftermarket revenues for the Goodrich corporation over 20 years. It will take some time before the parts appear on the aircrafts, explained Reussser. "It takes about three to four years to engineer and fabricate a program," he said. In 2004, the company signed a $5 billion contract with Boeing to outfit its new 787 aircraft, a direct competitor to Airbus' A350 XWB. Reusser's plant will provide reverse thrust tests, the underwing and a test engine, among other crucial parts, and successfully tested and certified many of the parts for use. The 787 was finally unveiled on July 8, or 7-8-07 to represent the model. The plant has seen record sales this year, said Reusser, citing "solid double-digit sales growth." Potential new programs for next year include a regional jet program with Mitsubishi (NYSE: MTU), consisting of 40 to 100 jets with 90 to 120 seats. A new manufacturing plant opened this year in Dubai, with more set to open in Scotland and Singapore. The Dubai plant will build nacelles, wheels and brakes, evacuation slides and flight control sensors, among other products. Heavy flight loads have given a boost to the airplane industry as a whole, said Reusser. "The airplane industry has really been rebounding and growing," he said. "They are getting back in professional mode." Reusser started working for the Goodrich Corp. 18 years ago in Everett, Wash., a couple of years after the corporation merged with Rohr Industries in 1987. Following the merger, headquarters moved from Chula Vista to Charlotte, N.C. Reusser moved to the San Diego plant in 1999.