Bombardier Aerospace has embarked on an aircraft service program in which it will invest some $35 million over the next five years to structure a worldwide service and maintenance network centered on three major hubs. The Canadian airframer last month officially opened its new wholly owned service center at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, where some $8 million has already been invested. Currently leased from Martinair, the space provides 45,339 sq ft where a staff
of 37 is expected to expand to 50 by year-end.
In fact, work at the facility began in February, well ahead of the opening last month. The hangar is capable of accommodating a combination of eight Learjets, four Challengers and two Globals.
The center offers a variety of repair work on airframes, engines and avionics. At this time, Schiphol is providing full services for Bombardier’s Learjet line and its Challenger 604 and 605. It is expected to accommodate the Challenger 300 and Globals by the end of the summer.
According to Michael McQuay, Bombardier president of aircraft service centers, among the requirements during the search for a site to serve the European, North African and Middle East region was a facility that could be up and running quickly. A total of 31 sites were evaluated.
Normally such a venture would require 12 months to get off the ground. The Schiphol center was open, had the necessary approvals and was taking in aircraft in seven months. Other factors in the choice included an existing aerospace cluster of vendors, a significant start-up labor pool, a willing partner in the airport development group, language skills of the workforce and an opportunity to start small and grow.
Growth is already a major consideration. The Schiphol center is the second of what will be three major service hubs. The main hub in Montreal is already operating, serving North, Central and South America. A decision is yet to be made for a center to serve Asia. Each hub will include customer response teams, parts availability, maintenance and training. “It’s a change from the old North American-centric approach that is dictated by changing market demographics and the needs of our customers,” said McQuay. “This is Bombardier’s first wholly owned service center outside North America,” he said. “It will become a cornerstone of our comprehensive customer services offerings in the region, which include aircraft training, the PartsExpress delivery service and our mobile response teams.”
James Hoblyn, president of customer services, noted that there are already 550 Bombardier aircraft operating in Europe, and the company expects to add another 150 to that total over the next three years. “Someone, somewhere at the company did a little math and determined that every three seconds a Bombardier airplane lands or takes off somewhere on the globe,” he told AIN.
Bombardier currently maintains a worldwide network of seven company-owned service centers, and by the end of the year its string of authorized third-party service centers will total 50. A major parts warehouse in Frankfurt, Germany, makes direct shipments to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa daily. There are also major parts depots in Dubai; São Paulo, Brazil; Singapore; and Sydney, Australia.
Customer response centers in Montreal and Wichita, Kan., offer around-the-clock support and expertise for AOG (aircraft on the ground) and part-related issues. There are more than 78 field service representatives worldwide,
and mobile repair teams provide quick initial response and can be dispatched quickly to any location on the globe.
As the Schiphol facility expands, McQuay said it may outgrow its Martinair site, for which Bombardier has a five-year lease. There is additional space on the airport that would, however, allow Bombardier to custom build a service center that would provide for business aircraft as well as its growing global fleet of airliners.