Jet Aviation Expands at Singapore Seletar

 - February 4, 2013, 12:15 AM

Jet Aviation has begun construction of a new hangar in Singapore to accommodate continued growth in its maintenance and FBO activities there. The company is the latest multinational to opt for a new facility at the island state’s Seletar Airport, which has been redeveloped significantly in the past few years as an aerospace and general aviation center. Jet Aviation first landed at Seletar 1995, taking over a 29,400-sq-ft World War II-vintage hangar that it still occupies. Gary Dolski, vice president and general manager of the company’s Singapore operation, hopes to have the new nearly 54,000-sq-ft (5,000 sq m) hangar ready by the first quarter of next year. “It will be large enough for a BBJ. We’ll also be adding 2,500 sq m [26,910 sq ft] of back shops and offices,” he told AIN.

Dolski is targeting OEMs such as Gulfstream, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins to store and manage inventory in those spaces. Dallas Airmotive is already on Jet Aviation’s site.

While the global recession has affected the company’s operations elsewhere, Southeast Asia is still “a good news story,” said Dolski. And Singaporean efficiency makes Seletar an excellent location to do business, despite labor costs higher than those elsewhere in the region. “The government has been proactive and company-friendly, and offers some good incentives,” Dolski explained. The Customs service is efficient, and English is the first language, he added.

Base Maintenance Services

Jet Aviation (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd is a repair station for AOGs, and holds maintenance approvals from 13 countries, with those for China and India pending. The company is an authorized service center for the Bombardier Challenger, Learjet and Global series; the Cessna Citation and Caravan; and the Gulfstream series. It also does line maintenance on BBJs. “We’re picking up more base maintenance now, and as the used aircraft market recovers we’re getting more out-of-warranty work. The fuel cost to fly an aircraft back to the U.S. outweighs any labor savings,” he noted. Recent tasks have included a full-engine swap after a bird strike, interior refurbs, and corrosion checks necessitated by high humidity in the region.

Meanwhile, the FBO business is thriving. Bernard Loo, senior manager, told AIN that movements were 60 percent up last year to “more than 2,000.” He was reluctant to specify the exact figure, citing competitive concerns. Hawker Pacific and Universal are Jet Aviation’s competitors at Seletar, but one gets the impression that all the companies pull together for the greater good.

Singapore’s two recently opened casinos have attracted a few high rollers traveling by private jet, but 98 percent of the movements are pure business, Loo said. Indonesia has generated much of the recent growth, followed by Hong Kong and Thailand. Jet Aviation also provides handling services at nearby Changi International Airport, where slots for business aircraft are readily available. About 25 percent of the company’s movements are handled there. Despite a recent extension to 5,200 feet, Seletar’s runway is still too short to permit nonstop operations by business jets to longer-haul destinations in northeast Asia and Australasia.