Founded in 1946 as Transair SA at the small airfield of Colombier in western Switzerland, Transairco was part of the Beech Aircraft sales organization for 50 years–from 1947 to 1997. That association came to an end four years ago, when aircraft manufacturer Pilatus took over the company and moved to Geneva Airport.
Despite five ownership changes, TSA Transairco continues doing what it has been doing best for more than half a century–maintaining and selling aircraft. Today, the company operates its profitable maintenance business in Geneva and distributes the single-engine Pilatus PC-12 in western Europe, North Africa and French-speaking black Africa. Transairco delivered three PC-12s in its territory in 2000, and two in the first half of this year. Marketing manager Ralph Bodenehr said he expects sales figures to double once the European JAA allows single-turbine commercial IFR operations. The rule change is expected by the end of this year.
Transairco has announced a total revenue–maintenance and aircraft sales combined–exceeding $35 million for the year 2000, with a net profit of $3.2 million.
On the maintenance side, the company holds an FAA certificate, JAR 145 and Russian authorizations for maintenance on all types of Falcons, from the 10 and 20 up to the latest 900EX and 2000, as well as most Learjets, King Airs and the PC-12.
Transairco has an engine shop authorized to perform all maintenance operations up to hot-section inspections on Honeywell (Garrett) TFE731, Pratt & Whitney JT15D, CFE 738 and CF 700 jet engines, as well as on the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A series turboprop engines.
The company also has a well equipped and staffed avionics shop and a paint shop accepting aircraft up to the size of a Gulfstream IV. It is a partner of the Garrett/Honeywell Falcon 20-5 engine-retrofit program and has refurbished 11 Falcon 20s to date. Work has started on the 12th Falcon 20, an F type, which is scheduled for delivery early next year.
Deputy manager Jean-Pierre Sauval of the Geneva operation said he thinks the Falcon 20 engine retrofit and refurbishment program will probably come to an end within two or three years for lack of Falcon 20s in sufficient condition to be refurbished.
Maintenance is Transairco’s main activity. It bills 100,000 to 110,000 maintenance man-hours per year, of which Falcons account for at least two-thirds. The company is not involved in the charter business and operates no aircraft of its own, but offers handling and refueling to operators of executive aircraft. It has well equipped pilot lounges in its facilities located on the west side of Geneva’s single Runway 05/23. Customs and pilot briefings are also available in the same building.
With a staff of 125 at Geneva Airport, the company also maintains a small propeller shop at its original location at Colombier. Apart from the move away from Beech, the Pilatus takeover in 1997 has brought no fundamental change to Transairco’s operations, since its profitable maintenance business still accounts for the bulk of sales, according to the company.