Eastway Jet Services was established in 1985 as a maintenance facility open to the public and was located in a 1,000-sq-ft hangar at Islip’s MacArthur Airport. In 1992, Eastway formed ExcelAire to operate an aircraft management company and now also offers aircraft charter. It is Argus Gold and Wyvern Wingman rated.
David Rimmer, executive v-p of Eastway Jet Services, said the company had wanted to expand its presence at Islip with an FBO for a long time. In 2006, when Garrett Aviation decided to leave, the airport authority put out a request for proposal (RFP) to take over the facility. Part of the RFP’s requirement was to explain what the company’s plans would be for the 100,000+ sq ft facility.
“Long Island is a major aviation community but it’s an expensive place to live and do business. We suggested in the RFP ExcelAire would be the best choice for Islip because the additional space would allow us to continue to expand our maintenance, charter and management business, which in turn would create more jobs for the area,” Rimmer told AIN.
ExcelAire was given the lease in 2006 but the facility had been an industrial environment and needed significant cleaning up and upgrading.
“We spent more than $3.5 million remodeling and adding capabilities to the facility. In early 2007, while maintaining our existing three facilities on the airport, we began to expand our operation into the new building. The first move we made was to completely relocate Eastway and open our MRO in the new facility. That allowed us additional space to expand our fleet of managed aircraft in the three existing facilities,” Rimmer said.
Later that year the ExelAire corporate offices and all the company’s executive, administrative and technical personnel made the move to the new facility. “At that point we began laying the groundwork for opening a new FBO, which went into service in early 2008,” he said.
Currently ExcelAire/Eastway Jet Services occupies approximately 200,000 sq ft on the airport. The newest facility, located on 80,000 sq ft of ramp space, accounts for 110,000 sq ft (50,000 sq ft of hangar space and 60,000 sq ft dedicated to maintenance) and includes a training center large enough to seat 50 students and features Internet access, projection equipment and desktop computers for online training. “We welcome OEMs and organizations such as PAMA and the Long Island Business Aviation Association to host IS-BAO training, workshops and monthly meetings at the facility,” Rimmer said.
The maintenance facility also includes a sheet metal shop, avionics, parts, customer offices, inspection department, line service office and tenant International Jet Interiors, Rimmer told AIN. International Jet Interiors specializes in interior installation and refurbishment.
Eastway Jet Services’ 40 technicians and support staff, including 25 avionics and A&P technicians, offer maintenance to the public and provide maintenance support for sister company ExcelAire’s fleet of 25 aircraft. Rimmer said the MRO is currently hiring. “We believe we must stay ahead of the curve and maintain the proper staff level to support an increase in volume as the economy strengthens,” he said.
“From a maintenance perspective we have a broad range of expertise. Our managed fleet includes a dozen Gulfstreams. We have extensive maintenance experience on the Gulfstream II through V and have logged more than 100,000 man hours of maintenance on Gulfstreams over the years,” Rimmer said.
The MRO is a factory-authorized Embraer Legacy and Phenom service center and has substantial experience on the Hawker/Beech 400 to 800 product line; the Falcon 50/50EX; Learjet 55; Bombardier Challenger 300, 600, 601, 604; and Gulfstream G150/200. The company also regularly maintains Global 5000s, a Cessna CJ3, Sikorsky S-76C+ and a Eurocopter Dauphin.
“The advantage to our customers is that we work on these aircraft regularly and send our technicians to factory schools, FlightSafety and SimuFlite, and also bring in product-specific training specialists,” Rimmer said.
Eastway Jet Services is an FAA Part 145 and EASA-approved repair station with limited powerplant, radio and instrument ratings. The MRO is certified to do minor and major airframe maintenance, engine repair and maintenance, airframe structural repairs and modifications, and avionics service and modifications to include flight and cabin management system installations. It also offers nondestructive testing (including X-ray), interior refurbishment and repairs, and fuel system repairs.
Another advantage to the customer is the long-standing relationship with the OEMs. “Because we’ve worked on these aircraft for so many years we have developed strong relationships with the OEMs and that translates into more effective support for our customers,” he said.
The company plans to break ground early next year for a 35,000-sq-ft facility adjacent to the existing site, increasing its hangar capacity by 50 percent. It’s slated to enter service in the first quarter of 2012.
“We continue to expand our MRO capability and client base. Concurrently the managed aircraft portion of our business also continues to grow. Despite the weak economy we continue to be optimistic about our business and business aviation as a whole,” Rimmer said.