In its bid to expand MRO operations across the U.S., Constant Aviation recently opened a facility at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
“We are excited about our growth out west. Opening a Constant Aviation facility in Las Vegas was the next logical thing for us to do as we invest heavily in the growth and expansion of our facilities, capabilities and personnel,” Stephen Maiden, president of the Cleveland, Ohio-based MRO, told AIN.
Maiden acknowledged that “aircraft maintenance is the non-sexy part of a flight operation.… It costs money but it’s a requirement,” noting that operators view it “as a negative event that has to be dealt with,” but he believes maintenance operators can make maintenance a positive event for the customer.
A full-service operation that can tend to the customer’s needs from beginning to end; a staff of people who love what they do; and a workplace culture that emphasizes quality while managing costs are key to improving the customer’s experience with maintenance, he said. “We take the approach of ‘no surprises.’ Being up front with the customer is a critical part of what we do. When you approach maintenance with that philosophy I think it only makes sense that your business will grow, and that’s exactly what’s happened. We now have over 250 team members who really care about the company, our customers and the work we do,” he said.
Serving a Niche Market…on a National Scale
“I am passionate about this business, and I think here at Constant Aviation there is a great opportunity to build something special. When you consider Constant Aviation is only nine years old it’s clear that what we’ve done in such a short period of time is remarkable,” Maiden said.
“I believe there is still room in this industry for another large national MRO chain, and that’s exactly what we’re doing–building it one piece at a time. Our business model doesn’t try to be all things to all operators. We specialize in specific areas,” he said.
Constant Aviation is the largest Embraer service center in the country, with significant experience on the Legacy and Phenom. The MRO works on the Legacy 600; Gulfstreams; Challenger 300; Citation X; Hawker 800A/XP, 900XP and 950XP; Beechjet 400A/XP; and Piaggio Avanti. All 30 technicians are factory trained on at least two of our niche aircraft, Maiden said.
“I believe it makes sense for our business model to be a four-location operation,” he told AIN. The company now has facilities in Cleveland, Las Vegas and Birmingham. He explained, “There are regions where having a fourth facility would make sense, but we’re not committed to anything at this point. We’re strategy oriented. A location has to be conducive to opening a full-service facility. We want to move in full strength from day one rather than opening small and experimenting in the region,” he said.
Constant Aviation’s business plan calls for up to four large MROs strategically located around the country that can support both small- and large-cabin aircraft. All locations will offer the same services, including full-service maintenance, avionics, engineering, paint and interior work. The MRO is also aggressive in the development of supplemental type certificates, particularly with the Aircell Gogo Biz in-flight Internet system. Its recent approval for the Hawker 125 series marked the fourth Wi-Fi STC it developed this year.
“The goal is to have all three locations be able to support similar niches of aircraft with identical capabilities. For example, our interior shop is currently located in Cleveland and can support our other two bases, but the plan is to duplicate those capabilities at all of our locations,” he said.
Maiden cites the move to Las Vegas as a key component of Constant’s vision of becoming a national MRO with locations where it can move in and dominate the market.
“When you think of moving west everyone thinks of California, commonly Van Nuys, but that’s conventional thinking. Van Nuys fits the bill as far as covering both the northwest and southwest, but its cost structure is relatively high compared with other locations and it isn’t a commercial airport, making it more complicated to get parts in and out in an expeditious manner. Additionally, Constant Aviation has a commercial division called Air Services that does MRO work for air carriers. Our locations have to be situated on airports with commercial traffic. We looked at the entire West Coast and ultimately concluded that Las Vegas met all our criteria, including late-night commercial flights,” he said.
Constant Aviation Las Vegas is leasing a 30,000-sq-ft facility from Atlantic Aviation on Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The FAR Part 145 and EASA-certified repair station has a staff of 35 employees and offers scheduled maintenance inspections, AOG support, avionics repair and upgrades, interior modification and refurbishment, composite and accessory repair, and parts distribution.