AMAC Aerospace is stepping up its expansion plans and expects to open its second hangar at Basel’s EuroAirport this summer. The 90,500-sq-ft structure will be able to accommodate aircraft up to size of a Boeing 747, and the company already plans an extension to handle the Airbus 380. Work in the new hangar is to start in September with the arrival of a Boeing 777, the Swiss company’s third completion project, once again being done on behalf of a Middle Eastern owner.
The completions and maintenance specialist opened its first 45,000-sq-ft hangar in February 2009 and adjoining it, on the west side of Basel’s 16/34 main runway, is 215,000 sq ft of secure ramp space. The second hangar will triple AMAC’s under-roof space.
Privately owned AMAC entered the market for aircraft completion, maintenance, refurbishment, management and executive charter in late 2008, shortly after the beginning of the economic downturn. Despite an unfavorable business environment, the new company has so far stuck to its ambitious plans.
Work started with the completion of a VIP Airbus A320 for an undisclosed Middle Eastern government that has been delivered to its customer. Today, AMAC has an A319 in completion, five executive aircraft under management, a growing number of aircraft in maintenance and it is also active in charter. It works with interior designers of the customer’s choice, including, notably, Francis Munch of France.
Mauro Grossi, co-founder and chief financial officer, told AIN that the financing needed to carry through the initial projects has been carefully controlled and so far things have worked out as planned. “We are quite optimistic about the future of AMAC Aerospace,” said Grossi. “Many of our customers are in government and the energy sector–traditionally less prone to cyclic downturns than other areas.” In addition to Grossi, main shareholders are chief executive Heinz Koehli, Kadri Muhiddin and Bernd Schramm.
AMAC (Booth No. 1079) began operations with 160 employees, a number that has risen to 225. The business plan calls for the payroll to increase to between 250 and 300 by the end of 2011.
The company holds factory approvals for maintenance of the Airbus A320 series and the Boeing Business Jet family, as well as for large Gulfstream types, the Bombardier Global Express and the Global 5000, plus line maintenance for the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series.
The four founders saw no point in competing with U.S. completion centers, so from the beginning their business was oriented to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which is where all customers have come from to date. AMAC holds European EASA Part 145 approval and similar approvals from the air authorities of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. The company also obtained EASA recognition as a continued airworthiness management organization in March. To date, it has skipped FAA approval since it is not considered essential for activities in its customer area.
AMAC is happy with the choice of Basel’s EuroAirport as a headquarters since it offers direct access to Switzerland, France and Germany. The company’s managers say they are especially satisfied with the availability of skilled workers in the area for all aspects of aviation, including mechanical and metal work, electronics, furniture and composites.