Associated Air Center Signs for 17th ACJ Completion

 - October 10, 2011, 7:50 AM
To meet increased demand, Associated has one hangar dedicated to MRO and refurbishment, and another dedicated to BBJ completion work.

As demand ramps up for refurbishment and green completion of Airbus ACJs and Boeing Business Jets, Associated Air Center of Dallas is ramping up to capture a goodly market share.

The company (Booth No. N6116), part of the StandardAero group, recently delivered its 16th Airbus completion–an ACJ319 for a Russian customer. It is also nearing delivery to an unidentified owner of the center’s 22nd Boeing Business Jet. More to the point, the center has just signed its 17th ACJ green completion job and, said executive v-p and general manager Troy Jonas, “We had a good year in 2010 [and] we’re on track for a better 2011.”

Looking ahead to growing demand for cabin refurbishment of ACJs and BBJs that are also coming in for a 12-year scheduled maintenance event, Associated is prepared, according to Jonas. “The majority of those airplanes haven’t had an cabin upgrade since they were delivered, and those analog electronics are long overdue,” he explained. “Some systems, like high-speed Internet connectivity, weren’t even available then.”

Part of that scheduled maintenance is a major landing gear overhaul that takes 45 days, which executive v-p of sales and marketing Patrick Altuna says is just about right for a quality refurbishment.

Altuna also noted that the a lot of the original interior outfitting was done at centers that have since closed, “and we’ve already captured some of that business.”

Six Sigma Lean Process

“Over the last couple of years,” said Jonas, “we’ve really focused on process improvement.” That includes the adoption and maintenance of Six Sigma lean process systems. The center is approaching ISO 9100 quality system certification in 2012.

“And this year we’ve invested in a full-size BBJ airframe mockup center to be used for creating and testing new designs, fabrication and systems,” added Jonas. He said that the airframe mockup is expected to reduce aircraft downtime by as much as 10 percent.

The re-engineered fuselage allows full-scale fit-checks for cabin components, reducing downtime by allowing work to begin on items such as galley and lavatory cabinetry. And Associated also expects to develop a similar mockup for ACJ completion work.

Associated also expects to modify an existing hangar to allow access for a new Boeing 747-8.

The Boeing Business Jets order book for executive conversions of the 747-8 is approaching 10 aircraft and the book for the new 787 is “nearly a dozen.” What this means is that many of these new twin-aisle airplanes will be delivered in a relatively short time-span, and completion centers like Associated are expecting, at least for a time, that demand will outstrip completion center capacity. “We’ve been in this market in the past and we plan to be in the future,” declared Jonas.

At this year’s NBAA convention, Associated is sharing space in parent company StandardAero’s new exhibit.