EBACE Convention News

Ruag Presents New Face As It Seeks International Expansion

 - May 13, 2012, 6:15 AM
A Ruag engine mechanic works on a Piaggio Avanti turboprop.

Ruag Group, the parent company of Ruag Business Aviation, has emerged from 2011 in good form, according to the company’s financial report released in late March. What’s more, the Swiss aerospace and defense technology firm has launched “a new, sharper brand image” as it expands and becomes more international.

The company came out of 2011 with net sales fairly flat at CHF1.777 billion ($1.942 billion) compared with CHF1.796 billion ($1.962) in 2010. But profitability improved markedly with EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) up 12 percent over last year. The report said four of five divisions were profitable, including aerospace and its Ruag Business Aviation division exhibiting here at EBACE (Stand 1369).

According to the report, based on growing demand for Airbus aircraft, Ruag has ramped up its production rates for winglets and fuselage sections. And the company has concentrated its skills in civil aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul at its sites in Geneva, Bern and Agno, Switzerland; and Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.

While Ruag has gone “full-bore” into business aviation only in the last several years, it has established from the start a one-stop-shop philosophy, from maintenance repair and overhaul and aircraft systems upgrades to major cabin completion and refurbishment and exterior paint. The one-stop-shop concept also extends to AOG emergency response and aircraft acquisition.

The company also operates two full-service FBOs, one here in Geneva and the other at Germany’s Munich Executive Airport (in Oberpfaffenhofen). And it is a new partner in a third FBO with the E Aviation at Lugano Airport in Switzerland, a location that both companies believe is fast becoming a major business aviation airport. The city, with a population of some 52,000, lies near the Italian border, on the shore of Lake Lugano, and is a major economic center and tourist destination.

Since 2010, Ruag Business Aviation has strengthened its capability with a center of excellence for cabin interior modifications and upgrades at its largest site at Munich Executive Airport.

Further, Ruag recently celebrated 30 years as an authorized Bombardier service center and has been a Cessna service center for more than 40 years. In the past year, Ruag service and support efforts have focused on Bombardier’s Global models–the Global Express, Global 5000 and Global Express XRS, driven primarily by the fact that the first Global Express business jets are now coming due for a 10-year, 8C check.

“This specific event allows for a sufficient time window to perform interior modifications within one ‘one-stop-shop’ service, without impacting the down time for the customer,” said Ulrich Gehling, general manager of business aviation. One recent example, said Gehling, was “performance of a full 8C check, complete cabin refurbishment and exterior paint–all with a total down time of only 12 weeks.”

A recent expansion of the aircraft services business at Munich Executive Airport is an expansion of the exterior paint shop. With the cooperation of Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, research is under way into the recycling of old paint. The shop will accommodate aircraft as large as a Boeing BBJ and the Airbus A320.

Ruag has had a joint venture agreement with List Components & Furniture of Austria since 2009. “List does the manufacturing and we are the prime contractor,” explained Gehling.

While List (Stand 1663) may not be high-profile, its interior cabinetry is showing up in a growing variety of business aircraft, including Embraer’s Lineage 1000 executive jet. Most recently List has become known for its lightweight stone flooring and countertops, for which Ruag is a primary distributor.

According to the annual report, as Ruag expands and becomes ever more international, the company is implementing, step by step, “a new, sharper brand image.”

“Our new branding will close the gap between the global public perception of the Ruag Group and the perception already current among experts in our field of business,” said executive chairman Konrad Peter. “Our new ‘Together Ahead’ Ruag logo communicates our promise to our customers, partners and employees in an active, clear manner.”