To meet a perceived shortage of capacity and to increase customers’ choices, Airbus expects by year-end to complete qualification of a fifth center to complete corporate and VIP interiors for its jetliner products.
Texas-based Gore Design Completions (Booth No. 575), which specializes in completion of widebody executive aircraft, is set to become the second such outfitting service-provider in the U.S., after Associated Air Center. The remaining Airbus-approved outfitting centers are in Europe: EADS Sogerma (France), Jet Aviation (Switzerland) and Lufthansa Technik (Germany).
Unlike Boeing, which generally is not involved in completion arrangements, Airbus prefers to manage each project on behalf of its customers. This allows the manufacturer to oversee service quality. In addition, clients benefit from its accrued knowledge and experience of each previous completion, the company says.
Describing his service as able to provide “everything but the paint,” president Jerry Gore told EBACE Convention News that the company’s $12.5 million, 120,000-sq-ft hangar at the former Kelley Air Force base outside San Antonio–said to be the largest in the completion business in North America–can accommodate combinations of aircraft. For example, last month it was housing a Boeing 767, a Boeing 727 and three Boeing Business Jets. Gore is planning to add a further 60,000 sq ft of space for manufacturing support work.
The company aims to complete up to six “green” aircraft a year and can perform scheduled maintenance up to the level of heavy C checks. Gore describes GDC’s “bread and butter” work as “high-end, highly customized completions for quality clients.”
In this respect, he can point to an impressive record of activity and experience dating from the time he (and many of his employees) worked for Dee Howard, when that company’s output included VIP conversions of Boeing 747s for the governments of Abu Dhabi, Oman and Saudi Arabia, and an Airbus A310 for the Sultan of Brunei.
Now, in its own right, GDC can list further widebody work among a larger portfolio of corporate aircraft completions: Boeing 767s for heads of state in central and east Asia; an Airbus A340 for Raytheon; the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 flying eye hospital for Project Orbis; a VIP/cargo DC-10 for a Singapore client; and an MD-11 for E-Systems.