Associated Air Center (AAC) has taken the art of cabin completion and refurbishment to a new level with the June 28 opening of a 4,000-sq-ft design center at its Dallas Love Field site.
“The bulk of all interiors we provide to our customers are conceived, detailed and built by our own internal design department,” said v-p and general manager Chris Schechter. “This new design center will showcase the best of what we do at AAC: creative and innovative design, talented craftsmen and an overall commitment to quality.”
The center, continued Schechter, is stocked with the latest fabrics, textile trends and cabin management technology, as well as a resource pool of talented artisans. All this, he added, provides AAC customers with “an endless array of ideas upon which to make their aircraft one of a kind and an in-flight extension of their individuality.”
Central to the design center is a full-scale Boeing Business Jet mockup, completed in July 2011 and now in full use, allowing interior technicians to check the interior furnishings, bulkheads, monuments, headliners and other cabin components well before the green airplane arrives at the facility.
According to AAC, use of the mockup virtually eliminates the need to fit and trim components on the actual aircraft, greatly reducing the conflicts often encountered when several specialists are sharing and competing for the same cabin real estate at the same time.
The final fit can also be verified in the mockup with the active involvement of customer-authorized representatives before installation in the aircraft. AAC claims use of the mockup has “already exceeded expectations in streamlining the completions turn-around time process and provided additional ancillary benefits in the areas of project cost and risk management.”
Both the design center and mockup have been outfitted by AAC suppliers to provide customers an experience with the latest electronics, switch panels, table mechanisms, windows, lighting and sound systems, as well as samples of various finishes and styles.
In fact, even before the official inauguration, the design center was host to more than 100 of AAC’s top providers at its annual supplier symposium July 16. Topics discussed included updates of AAC procurement policies, international compliance regulations, market trends and improvement practices.
In its 25 years in the business, AAC has outfitted 83 bizliners, many of them widebody Boeing 747s and 767s. Now making a bulge in the AAC completion and refurbishment pipeline is an Airbus A330-200, recently arrived and representing the company’s initial foray into the Airbus Corporate Jet heavy-iron line.
AAC, part of DAE-owned StandardAero, describes the interior as “nose-to-tail” customization, including multi-region satellite-direct television, high-speed Internet connectivity, high-definition in-flight entertainment, a customized thermal/acoustic package and a private shower.