MRO Profile: Innotech Aviation
Innotech Aviation has served the corporate aviation market since the dawn of the business jet era. “This is our 50th year, and that’s a long time in aviation,” Kirk Rowe, the company’s executive vice president and COO, told AIN. “We have a long history with Cessna, Raytheon, Bombardier and other OEMs that’s allowed us to build substantial technical depth and product line knowledge.”
Rowe said the company’s relationship with Bombardier dates back to the early 1980s with the introduction of the Challenger 600. “We have hundreds of thousands of hours of maintenance and overhaul experience on Bombardier aircraft,” he said. “We are right across the airport from Bombardier and have a good working relationship with them.”
Innotech Aviation has been serving military and civilian customers throughout Canada, the U.S. and in many other parts of the world since 1955, when it began life as Timmins Aviation. Initially it was a relatively small organization involved in aircraft sales, ground services and repair and overhaul.
In 1967 Timmins Aviation was acquired by Wilmington, Del.-based Atlantic Aviation. Under Atlantic Aviation’s leadership, the company continued to widen its expertise in design, engineering and repair and overhaul. The company also expanded by adding a number of locations across Canada.
In 1974 several Canadian members of Timmins’ management and Innocan Investments, a Montreal-based venture-capital firm, bought Timmins Aviation. The company thus became wholly owned by Canadians, as it remains today, and the name was changed to Innotech Aviation.
Innotech Aviation in 1988 became a fully owned subsidiary of IMP Group, a diversified multinational Canadian corporation with 3,500 employees in four countries. IMP Group has extensive interests in aerospace, manufacturing, airline and general aviation services, industrial marine products and hotel management.
Innotech Aviation sold its aircraft interior completion division to Bombardier in 1996 and also built a new facility on Montreal Dorval International Airport (YUL), which is now known as Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport.
Today, Innotech Aviation is the largest of four aviation companies in IMP Group’s Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group (the others being Execaire, Pacific Avionics and Instruments and Innotech Aviation Services). The group offers complementary services at 14 strategic locations across Canada. Innotech Aviation (YUL) provides aircraft sales, service, maintenance, repair and overhaul, modifications, customized mechanical and avionics design, engineering, interior refurbishments and inspections to support corporate, commercial and military operators.
“During the period of economic uncertainty we carefully stuck to our core businesses,” Rowe said. “The Canadian/U.S. exchange rate has been a bit tough and made us focus on what we’re doing in terms of cost and efficiency. We’ve adjusted well to the situation and we’re stronger for it while maintaining our standards.”
Rowe said the company’s theme is “continuous improvement as a way of life.” He added, “We don’t want simply to maintain the status quo because we know someone will do it better if we do. Our process improvement team looks at everything; everyone in the company has a voice. If someone has an idea that will make things better for the customer or for the company, they can suggest it knowing that every suggestion gets an evaluation and response.”
Rowe noted that the company has an aggressive training budget in both the technical trades and customer service. “Our employees are the basis of our business. We have a low turnover rate and some of our employees have been here for many years. We believe in giving lots of training, feedback and recognition,” he said.
Innotech Aviation’s facilities total 93,800 sq ft divided between a 63,000-sq-ft hangar and 30,800 sq ft of shop and office space. The company performs a wide range of activities, from line to heavy maintenance work on airframes, powerplants, avionics and systems.
In 1966 Innotech Aviation became the first Canadian distributor and authorized service center for the de Havilland DH.125, which evolved into the Hawker 125 series currently built by Raytheon Aircraft. Today, the company is an authorized service center for the 125-1A, 700, 800 and 1000 series. Innotech Aviation is also an authorized service center for the Bombardier Challenger 600, 601 and 604)–it has been so since the introduction of the aircraft in 1980–and the Global Express.
Innotech Aviation was the first independent facility to achieve the status of authorized service center for the Global Express. Initially the company worked with Bombardier on performing post aircraft manufacturing modifications on green aircraft and subsequently assisted in performing major modification programs on both green and in-service aircraft. For the past six years the company has performed major modifications, Service Bulletins, maintenance and complete interior refurbishments on numerous Global Expresses for both Bombardier and corporate customers.
In the powerplant arena the company is an authorized service center for the Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D turbofan and PT6 turboprop; General Electric CF34; and Honeywell TFE731 and HTF7000. In addition it is experienced with the Rolls-Royce Spey, Tay, AE2007 and BR710, the ALF502 and the Williams-Rolls FJ44. Avionics service center authorizations include AlliedSignal, Rockwell Collins, Universal and Honeywell.
Innotech Aviation provides 24/7 AOG service and is an authorized parts dealer and/or distributor for Cessna Citation, Raytheon (Hawker and King Air), Pratt & Whitney Canada, GE (CF34), Honeywell (TFE731 engines and GTCP36-series APUs), Raisbeck Engineering, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell and Universal Avionics. Execaire, the company’s sister division, is an authorized sales representative for the full line of Citation business jets, as well as providing comprehensive aircraft management services.
Innotech Aviation backshops include non-destructive testing for on- and off-wing inspections, including radiographic (X-ray), magnetic particle inspection, eddy current inspection, liquid penetrant inspection and ultrasonic sound inspection. The company also has extensive backshop capability in interior refurbishment, upholstery, interior cabinetry and components and avionics and cabin management system integration. It also offers full design and engineering capability.
“Our people are the heart of our success,” Rowe said, “and our customers are the beneficiaries of their total commitment. We’re all looking forward to our company’s next 50 years.”