MRO Profile: Avjet
Avjet has been offering aircraft sales, acquisition, charter, management services and oversight of completion and refurbishment projects since 1979. Headquartered in Burbank, Calif., the company maintains a presence in Washington D.C., Seoul; Abu Dhabi; Moscow; Tokyo; and other locations around the world. Avjet also owns and operates an FBO in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Avjet’s managed fleet of large-cabin, long-range business jets emphasizes Gulfstream, Global Express, Falcon and Boeing Business Jets. The company holds Argus Platinum status and Wyvern Wingman Alliance and is IS-BAO and Air Charter Safety Foundation certified.
“Avjet started more than 33 years ago with one hangar in Burbank, staffed by less than a half dozen personnel, and a Westwind II,” Marc Foulkrod, CEO and chairman, told AIN. “Today we employ more than 175 people in more than a dozen countries with a global fleet of 40 aircraft.”
According to the company, it operates the only Part 135 North American Boeing Business Jet approved for global charter. The designation required DOT/FAA approval, and a final signoff by the White House allowed Avjet to transport former President Bill Clinton and his team into restricted North Korea in 2009 to negotiate release of two U.S. hostages who Avjet subsequently flew back to their facility in Burbank.
Large-cabin Maintenance Services
Moving that many aircraft around the globe requires substantial flexible maintenance support. System wide, the company has a total of almost 213,500 sq ft of hangar space, including more than 65,000 sq ft dedicated to maintenance.
Avjet has an FAA Part 145 approved repair station where maintenance work is performed on its fleet of managed aircraft. “We work in concert with the various aircraft manufacturers’ facilities, so we can be cost conscious while providing rapid turnaround to minimize aircraft downtime,” Foulkrod said.
“Our service department provides executive aircraft owners with a turnkey solution for routine and scheduled maintenance as well as major repairs and inspections,” he continued. “Avjet technicians stay current with the latest developments in technology and maintenance protocols and our close relationships with the large-cabin OEMs give us access to their own technical experts.”
The MRO holds limited airframe, powerplant, accessories and propeller ratings. The Burbank-based repair station, which is audited and approved by Wyvern and Argus, has two additional locations: one on Van Nuys airport and a second location on the opposite side of Burbank airport from the main base of operations that is a LEED Platinum certified facility.
“As a company we believe in socially responsible environmental operation and to that end we have constructed the world’s first 100-percent green hangar at our Burbank location. It has been awarded Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] rating system. The hangar can house up to three Boeing 737 commercial size airliners,” Foulkrod said.
Avjet’s repair station has approvals to work on Boeing-737-700, -800 and -900 series; Bombardier Challenger 300, Global Express, Challenger CL600 and CL601-3; Gulfstream II, III, IV, IV-X, GV, GV-SP, G150 and G200; Israeli Aircraft Industries 1124 and 1125; Raytheon Hawker HS125 series, -800, 800XP and 850. The MRO operation is also approved to provide line maintenance on the GE CF34-1A/3B, CFM56-56-7B, HTF7000; Honeywell TFE731 series; and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW-300 and -500 series.
Avjet employs 175 full- and part-time employees, including 19 airframe and powerplant mechanics and one contract avionics technician with Duncan Avionics. The company annually sends its maintenance technicians to factory training available from FlightSafety or SimuFlite.
To date, Avjet’s aircraft sales have exceeded 350 corporate jet transactions worth more than $6 billion. It assists customers through the entire sales process from picking the right aircraft, to its technical inspection, financing and eventual closing of the aircraft transaction. As such, the company has established a strong position in the completion of green aircraft from aircraft manufacturers such as Bombardier, Gulfstream, Dassault and Boeing Business Jets.
“We have an extensive history of managing aircraft completion and refurbishment projects for our clients. About five years ago one of our customers had a BBJ and we took on that completion project. We currently have three large BBJ projects in the book including two currently in the completions process and another we’ll be taking in shortly,” Foulkrod said.
AvJet’s specialists act as the aircraft owner’s advocate with the designers, engineers, fabricators and installers, providing a single point of accountability to the client throughout the project. “More than simply managing the project, we have specialists who assist in selecting the elements that will add the most value to the aircraft and work with the flight crew to determine the optimum avionics solution,” Foulkrod said.
Before 2008, about 70 percent of Avjet’s business was domestic. In the last three years that has reversed and the company now sees about 70 percent of its business is international.
“We now have a G550 based in Japan and last year put our first GIV-SP in Lagos, Nigeria,” Foulkrod said. “We’re still sorting out how much sense it makes to base it in Nigeria; we’ll be visiting there next year to explore our options further.”
He continued, “We have had an office in Seoul, Korea, for the past five years and we are now offering aircraft handling and fuel sales out of that office. We’d like to see that expand into an FBO and maintenance facility, but we have to take it slowly. We’re working closely with the government to get the necessary approvals, but you have to remember this is new territory for them. There’s never been such a thing in Korea before.”