Pieced together from many companies in an evolution that commenced in 1999, the Swiss Ruag group is progressing at its cruising speed. The goal of the company’s founders was to move the defense supplier away from the exclusive dependence on the Swiss armed forces and to create an independent enterprise with a diversified customer base. Business aviation is a key part of this strategy.
Today, Ruag employs a staff of more than 5,500 and achieves annual sales of about $1 billion. Nonetheless, the company posted a loss of CHF 19 million ($14.6 million) last year, which it laid to disruption of operations at one of its plants in Switzerland after summer rains caused severe local flooding.
Swiss and other defense customers account for 62 percent of the company’s revenues and the civilian sector for 38 percent. Manufacturing accounts for 54 percent of the company’s capacity and maintenance, 35 percent. The group has facilities in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Sweden. Switzerland and the European Union countries generate 90 percent of its sales.
In civilian aerospace, Ruag’s main activity involves manufacturing components and subassemblies–for Boeing and Airbus, among others–and maintenance of executive aircraft and regional airliners. It acquired its largest maintenance facility–at Oberpfaffenhofen in southern Germany–from Fairchild Dornier in 2003. The company’s other general aviation maintenance sites are in Zurich, Bern, Alpnach and Lugano in Switzerland and Klagenfurt in Austria. The Zurich facility is an Embraer Legacy service center and is authorized to perform maintenance on the Dassault Falcon 900 and 2000 series, the Bombardier Challenger family and Global Express, the Gulfstream IV and V, the Dornier 328Jet and turboprop, and the Cessna Citation 560, as well as Dash 8 Series regional airliners.
The Lugano facility specializes in avionics, while the Alpnach site, dedicated to helicopters, is a service center for Eurocopter’s Super Puma, Cougar, Dauphin, Squirrel and Alouette III. Ruag regularly maintains some 90 executive aircraft and regional airliners at its Swiss facilities.
Under previous ownership, in the 1970s Ruag Oberpfaffenhofen was one of the earliest and largest Cessna maintenance centers. Since it joined the Ruag group in 2003 as Ruag Aerospace Services, it has acquired additional customers and currently has 110 Citations under contract, plus 65 Challengers and Global Expresses. In addition, the facility maintains about 100 regional airliners and is holder of the Do 228 type certificate. The facility employs 450 people.
In addition to its European and U.S. Part 145 approvals, Ruag is licensed by NATO, and the air authorities of Saudi Arabia, Bermuda, Nigeria, Egypt and Bosnia.