Lotus Aviation Group Looking Ahead

 - May 3, 2010, 11:11 AM

In Buddhist paintings, the Buddha is often shown seated on a Lotus flower, symbolizing the beauty born of ugliness and suffering.

This is how Rajeev Singh, president of Lotus Aviation Group, sees his Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport-based completion and refurbishment center.
When he bought Stewart Aviation Services, the company was mired in financial difficulties and looking into the dead eyes of a recession. Things looked grim indeed, and perfect for the birth of a lotus.

But don’t get the idea that Singh is a starry-eyed romantic whose own roots are
in the shaky ground of wishful thinking.

Singh was born in India and headed for Canada immediately out of high school. The self-made 38 year old, with a mechanical engineering background, now owns SAS Precision Manufacturing, an auto and aircraft components manufacturing company in Toronto, and a subsidiary, SAS Precision Engineering, in Bangalore, India. His experience in aviation, he readily admits, is limited to a life-long fascination with and passion for things that fly. His funding for the acquisition and launch of Lotus Aviation, he says, “came from my own pocket.”

“When the opportunity to buy Stewart Aviation Services came,” he said, “I jumped all over it. It was a combination of my fascination with aviation, and wanting to get into a business with a healthy potential.”

Since he acquired Stewart and renamed it Lotus in 2008, Singh has doubled the payroll to 32, opened a second facility at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and is expanding to take aircraft as large as a Global Express. As of early last month, Lotus was working on two Learjets (a 35 and a 55), a King Air 90, a Cessna Caravan and two Cessna twin pistons. Already delivered this year are a Legacy 600, a Hawker 400, a Learjet 60 “and we have a Citation owner who wants something different from the original paint scheme.”

In addition to some 35,000 sq ft of completion and refurbishment space,
shops and office, Lotus is also a paint shop capable of accommodating aircraft as large as a Global Express.

Singh said that he will be disappointed if Lotus does not expand to include another hangar at Fort Lauderdale, and another facility in some other state. He is also exploring the possibility of a new facility in Latin America.