Houston Hobby MRO expands based business

 - December 28, 2010, 10:50 AM

Enterprise Jet Center evolved from Enterprise Products, a gas and oil company that opened a flight department in 1979. The latter’s original 30,000-sq-ft facility remains among the new company’s holdings on Hobby Airport.

By the mid-1980s Enterprise Products had accumulated substantial maintenance experience and its management decided to expand operations to offer line services to the public under the name Enterprise Air Center. In the late 1980s the company left the aviation business and sold the facility to a local investor.

Within a few years Enterprise Air Center added maintenance to its line service, initially working on Hawkers. It became an FAA Part 145 repair station in 2006, was renamed Enterprise Jet Center and a 300,000-sq-ft FBO facility was constructed, including a 10,000-sq-ft canopy, next to the original 30,000-sq-ft hangar. All FBO and maintenance operations were moved into the new building and the old hangar was used for storage. The company acquired Hobby Sky Clean, a local aircraft cleaning company, and in July 2009 hired Bobby Courtney as president.

Today, Enterprise Jet Center sits on a 16-acre complex that includes three buildings. “We continue to operate the FBO out of the new facility and have an additional 85,000-sq-ft storage hangar. We recently moved our maintenance operation into the old building to give it more room for growth,” he said.

“The move into a dedicated maintenance facility has given us the space to work on as many as ten aircraft at a time. Being able to do that has had a significant impact on our operation. Until recently about 15 percent of our business was being done on transient aircraft at other facilities. Now we can do more work in our own facility,” Courtney said.

Enterprise Capabilities
Enterprise Jet Center does light and heavy inspection, maintenance, troubleshooting, electrical, Level II NDT inspection and structural repair on Citations, Hawkers, King Airs, Learjets, IAI 1124s and Gulfstreams. It also performs light maintenance on the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-20/40/60, JT15D, PW305 through 545, Honeywell TPE331 and TFE731, Williams International FJ44 and Sundstrand APUs.

The MRO also offers engine maintenance and repairs through major independent and OEM-authorized facilities, and avionics repair and installation through a third-party shop. The MRO operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but has technicians on call 24 hours a day to provide emergency maintenance and repairs as necessary.

Enterprise Jet Center has 50 employees, seven of whom are maintenance technicians. “In addition to the Level II NDT shop, we have a sheet metal shop and strong working relationships with preferred vendors here on Hobby, including an interior shop, battery shop and rotable parts operation,” he said.

“Our maintenance technicians are experienced business aviation professionals and we send them to factory schools. One of our crewmembers has 20 years’ experience on the Hawker/BAe 125 series and our sheet metal technician is an artist. We can now do inspections, certifications and repairs.

 “I have to give the lion’s share of the credit for our success to our director of maintenance, Kevin Nichols,” Courtney told AIN. Nichols had been with the MRO for three years as a floor supervisor when he was promoted to director of maintenance last January.

“Everyone in this area knows him so he was well received by our clients. It would be safe to say Kevin has been a real sparkplug in our growth. We’re now working on about 150 aircraft a year, with a repeat client list of about 125. Before Kevin took over as DOM we were seeing about half that number,” Nichols said.

Looking ahead, Nichols would like to see Enterprise maintenance centers in other locations and partnerships with independent FBOs. “Economy aside, there’s no reason we shouldn’t expand to other markets. The services we provide will always be in demand as long as there are airplanes. A well trained crew and on-the-spot communication with the owner or pilot when a situation arises are the keys to success in this business. With e-mail and cellphones it’s easy to stay in touch,” he said.

Courtney said his guiding principle is to focus on what Enterprise Jet Center does best and avoid trying to be all things to all customers.

“When a customer needs work that we don’t do we help him find another top-notch facility to do the work. We’re about helping our customers solve their problems in whatever direction that takes us. That’s what this business is about–customer service.”