With first A320 in house, Gore readies for bigger projects

 - August 30, 2007, 7:58 AM

Gore Design Completions received its first Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) for completion early last month. The manufacturer approved the San Antonio firm as an outfitter last fall. Gore might also take delivery of a second widebody project in the middle of next year.

The A320 Prestige will be at the Texas facility for about six months, according to company president Jerry Gore. He declined to give specific details about the cost of the completion, commenting only that the current project and the anticipated completion would total about $60 million.

Gore Design Completions and Associated Air Center in Dallas are currently the only independent shops in the U.S. authorized by Airbus to outfit its aircraft. The French manufacturer has announced plans to open at its home base in Toulouse a company-owned 48,500-sq-ft completions facility that could handle three aircraft per year.

While the success of the ACJ line may have made it difficult for Airbus to assure timely delivery of customer-ready corporate aircraft, Gore is delighted to shoulder some of the burden. “Supply and demand in the completions market is out of balance,” he said. “We have to anticipate the need and plan for expansion so we can handle more big aircraft.”

Gore Design’s current 180,000-sq-ft facility has space available on both sides for more construction, and the company is already making plans for an 80,000-sq-ft expansion adjacent to the hangar to house additional shops. The company’s work force currently totals 300 people.

How big any future enlargements will be depends on several factors, but Gore sees a simple solution: “If we should happen to get an A380 to complete, then we’ll build an A380-size facility,” he said.

According to Airbus, there are 108 ACJs on order and 94–predominantly A319s and A320s–in service. Manufacturing slots are sold out for the next five years.
In addition to the new ACJ, Gore has three BBJs and a 767 in the processes of interior completion, which in some cases involves avionics installation and major maintenance.

“This is a skill-based business–almost an art form,” Gore said. “Our goal is to become the best completion center in the world–and I think we’re about there.”