With customers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America, as well as here in Europe, Germany’s Aero-Dienst (Stand 1745) is expanding its business jet maintenance, aircraft management and flight operations activities. It also has been forging partnerships with other companies that can complement its business, including introducing an on-site cabin refurbishment service.
At its Nuremberg Airport headquarters, maintenance capacity has been expanded into Hangar 5 and the company has invested heavily in training and expanding the workforce. Expansion into the refurbished, former airline hangar has increased Aero-Dienst’s indoor floor area by some 27,000 sq ft to around 86,000 sq ft. Managing director Martin Bauer told AIN that the hangar is “nicely filled,” in line with its “long-term strategy of steady and healthy growth.”
Hangar 5 provides space for maintenance work, especially on Dassault Falcons (2000EX EASy, 900EX, 900EX EASy and 7X variants) and Bombardier Challenger (Series 300 and 600 models), while leaving scope for further expansion for Learjet and Hawker Beechcraft models. The renovated accommodation has provided several maintenance workshops as well as a number of individual customer offices and lounges in a second story, according to Aero-Dienst, which prides itself as being “Germany’s oldest and most-enduring provider of business aviation services.”
The move into Hangar 5 has enabled Aero-Dienst to offer more aircraft interior refurbishments, for which it says there is “ever increasing demand from customers.” After talks with potential partners seeking their own sites, the company reached an agreement with Metrica Aviation Interior, which now operates workshops and offices under a “shop-within-a-shop” arrangement.
A major benefit for business aircraft operators is direct access to the new Aero-Dienst hangar via Nuremberg’s general aviation terminal, which is said to ensure fast and easy access. “This expansion marks a further milestone in Aero-Dienst’s development and growth,” said Bauer.
“The additional space means that we can provide our customers with even better service, structure our work more efficiently and provide a better working environment for our employees,” he said. Bauer also said the larger accommodation has enabled Aero-Dienst to arrange aircraft better and to take advantage of synergy effects, with new working docks and additional space for storing loaner engines.
Metrica Aviation Interior also is a new Hangar 5 resident. It is an established business that specializes in providing new and refurbished interiors for aircraft, luxury marine craft and private homes. It is a subsidiary of Qatar’s Ghanim bin Saad al Saad and Sons Group Holdings and specializes in “combining ultralight and flexible materials with design and functionality.”
For business aircraft operators, minor refurbishments–of, for example, carpets, seats, panels and galleys–can be done in Hangar 5, while complete renovations will be performed at Metrica’s home base at Espelkamp, Germany.
“Several partial refurbishments have been carried out in Nuremberg since [the partners] started to work together about five months ago,” said Bauer. “This additional capability is highly appreciated by Aero-Dienst customers.”
In expanding its business, Aero-Dienst is taking on about 50 qualified B1 and B2 technicians, about two thirds of whom are already on its payroll. They include experienced staff to work on General Electric CF34-3 engines, which power Challenger 600 aircraft and for which Aero-Dienst last year was named an authorized service center (ASC). To meet the increased demand for maintenance, repair and design engineering, and to enable it to use the hangar capacity fully, Aero-Dienst has primarily been seeking trained and experienced inspectors, mechanics and avionics specialists.
Additional positions have been created to supplement process planning and continuing airworthiness management organization (CAMO) administration in the customer services department. According to Aero-Dienst, past plans to train its own aircraft mechanics are paying off: “This year and coming years will see particularly strong classes completing their apprenticeship training,” said Bauer.
To meet increased demand for maintenance, repair and design engineering, Aero-Dienst decided five years ago to increase the annual number of apprentices, an internal training process it describes as “growing up our own ‘new blood.’” The company also has invested approximately $1.3 million in further training for existing employees because, Bauer said, “even aviation professionals with many years of experience can always learn something new.”
As a CF34-3 ASC, Aero-Dienst will not only offer 24-hour AOG services but also will perform all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, warranty support and the GE OnPoint maintenance program. “The stockpiling of original GE parts at Nuremberg Airport will ensure quick and easy assistance and maintenance services for European operators of [CF34-3-powered] Challengers. We will be able to offer a greater range of services for clients from all over Europe,” said engine maintenance manager Andrea Weyrich,
The company also has been expanding its managed-aircraft fleet, which has simultaneously permitted Aero-Dienst to increase its portfolio of business locations. Last October, it added a Cessna Citation CJ3 executive jet operating from Germany’s Oberpfaffenhofen Airport, which has a catchment area that includes Augsburg, Landsberg, Memmingen, Munich and the Bavarian lakes region. This second CJ3 brought its managed fleet to 10 aircraft.
Last year, Aero-Dienst received Platinum Safety of Flight Award from the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) after completing 100,000 accident-free flight hours. “This award underlines Aero-Dienst’s flight qualifications, high standard of training and its business aviation competence,” said the company, which previously won an EBAA gold award in 2008, having achieved 80,000 such flight hours.