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Gulfstream Aerospace weighs G550 replacement for special missions

FILE PHOTO: A Gulfstream G550 airplane carrying Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan approaches to the city's new airport under construction as Turkish Air Force F-16D jets escorts in Istanbul

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp's Gulfstream Aerospace is weighing one of its business jets to replace its popular G550 aircraft which is now out of production for special mission purposes, President Mark Burns said on Monday.

Governments are eying "special mission" business jets capable of looking or listening at potentially lower running costs than converted passenger or military planes.

The rising demand for small jets with systems once reserved for bigger planes has energised a market led by Gulfstream, which faces challenges from rivals Bombardier and France's Dassault Aviation SA.

“We’ve got multiple customers with multiple desires for how they are going to use the airplane and we’re really just trying to sort through which is the best airplane to use,” Burns told Reuters on the sidelines of the world's largest business jet show in Orlando, Florida.

In September, Canada's Bombardier Inc said the company's defense business involving special mission private jets could grow to a possible $1 billion in annual revenues from a 'fraction' of it right now.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Orlando, Fla.; Editing by Matthew Lewis)