Farnborough Air Show

Fix the airplane, Jeeves. . .

 - November 16, 2006, 6:11 AM

Bombardier has selected TAG Farnborough Engineering and Gold Air International as its newest maintenance providers, increasing its number of service centers in Europe to 11.

The deals announced here yesterday appoint TAG as a line maintenance center for Bombardier Challenger and Global business jets and London Biggin Hill-based Gold Air as a maintenance provider for the Learjet line. TAG’s maintenance hangar is located here on Farnborough Airport near the company’s posh new executive terminal and tenant hangars.

Bombardier Business Aircraft vice president James Hoblyn said 290 Learjets, Challengers and Globals operate in Europe, where seven full-time field service representatives and a massive parts warehouse in Frankfurt stand ready to provide support.

The Canadian airframer has suffered in the past from poor showings in product support surveys, but Hoblyn said Bombardier has slowly been putting the pieces in place to lift its ranking. The company established 24-hour AOG (aircraft-on-ground) telephone hotlines in Montreal and Wichita, Kansas, and has cut its parts-fill time to fewer than 12 hours.

In the past two years especially, Bombardier has made significant investment in improving its customer support infrastructure in a bid to provide an “industry-leading level of service,” Hoblyn said. “Bombardier is the first manufacturer with full-time field service reps in Russia and Dubai and we are planning for an announcement later this year of an AOG line center in Russia,” Hoblyn said of the company’s commitment to meeting the goal.

He added that Bombardier has doubled its hangar space at Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services in Berlin and soon plans to add two more field service reps in Europe. The activity is part of a Bombardier strategy to reduce aircraft downtime, provide improved technical support, deliver parts to customers quickly and provide worldwide maintenance capability, Hoblyn said.

During a press event at TAG Farnborough yesterday, executives from Bombardier and TAG posed with a British butler to illustrate the kind of service customers can expect to receive here on the field. Les Batty, director of aircraft engineering for TAG Farnborough Engineering, said his organization has been adding maintenance techs to met increased demand, which has been on the rise ever since TAG officially opened its state-of-the-art executive terminal here in May.

TAG Farnborough currently looks after nearly 200 airplanes of various types. There is usually at least one customer Global Express in the maintenance hangar, which is capable of housing up to five Global Expresses simultaneously, Batty said.