Amac opens new hangar to cope with bizliner demand

 - December 23, 2010, 7:18 AM

Amac, the Swiss MRO company founded in 2007, opened a 90,500-sq-ft widebody hangar at Euro Airport Basel on December 2. The new building stands next to the company's initial 45,000-sq-ft hangar, which is capable of accommodating two single-aisle airliners. Plans for another large hangar are already in the pipeline.

While the expansion of the company's facility had been planned for a while, its inauguration comes at a time when many MRO companies would rather reduce than expand their facilities. However, Amac strategic president Heinz Köhli pointed out that completion work, which together with maintenance of large executive jets amounts to 90 percent of the company's work load, is an activity with long lead times. He said demand for private completions for airliners, both single-aisle and widebody, remains strong since only a few companies offer this type of service in Europe, and none in Asia. He noted that demand for VIP completions is rising in Asia, 12 VIP Airbus aircraft delivered there having set the ball rolling.

Amac's main competitors in Europe are Lufthansa Technik and Jet Aviation, the latter with a large facility also at the EuroAirport. According to Köhli, the handful of completion centers offering their services for large aircraft in the U.S., such as Associated Air Center and Gore Design Completions, are also ­facing demand that tends to exceed capacity. "We have a backlog of two years of work and I am confident that we will have no shortage of orders for at least the next five years," Köhli told AIN.

Middle East Demand
In its first two years of completion activity, Amac outfitted an Airbus A319 and A320, both for Middle East customers, and both were delivered within the agreed deadlines. The company has since taken delivery of a Boeing 777-200LR, currently in its new hangar. Another 777 will follow early this year and Amac has a signed letter of intent for the completion of a Boeing 747 for an undisclosed ­Middle East customer.

With a staff of more than 300, Amac currently has the capacity to carry out completions of three bizliners simultaneously and plans to hire and train more staff as demand dictates. It hopes to reach 390 workers by the end of this year.
Amac is an official Airbus outfitter, which means that it is regularly invited to submit completion offers for VIP versions sold by the European airframer.

On the maintenance side, capabilities of Amac include the Airbus A318/319/320/
321s; Boeing 737-600/700/800/900, including BBJ versions, and 777; Gulfstream IV and V; Bombardier BD-700, including the Global Express, XRS and 5000; and the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing MD-80 series. Amac plans to open early next year a third ­hangar devoted to maintenance of large aircraft. Among other orders, Amac has a commitment from a customer for a D-check on a Boeing 747.

Amac is an EASA Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO), allowing it to offer reliable maintenance monitoring in a controlled environment. So far, the Swiss company has approvals as an EADS Part 145 repair station and by a number of other national authorities.
Amac is also active in aircraft management and executive charter, a segment that currently accounts for 10 percent of sales. The managed fleet includes seven aircraft of various sizes, from a Piaggio Avanti to a private A320. A new Falcon 7X will join the fleet during the first quarter of this year. Aircraft management and executive charter are handled by Amac's Zurich office.