Bombardier has expanded its aircraft maintenance support footprint to California for the first time, selecting San Luis Obispo-based ACI Jet as its latest authorized service facility (ASF). The location will be authorized to perform line maintenance on the Global and Challenger families.
For the airframer, the designation marks its first new ASF in the U.S. in more than five years. “What we see with ACI Jet is the quality and the reputation that they bring to the table is completely in line with the brand and the reputation that we have in the marketplace,” noted William Molloy, Bombardier Business Aircraft’s vice president of aftermarket sales. The company was one of the major proponents of the recent trend of OEMs bringing their maintenance support back in house, with a recent major expansion at its Tucson location, and new customer service center under construction in Miami, which will bring it to five Bombardier-owned service centers in the U.S., along with 10 ASFs in North America.
“Another part of our strategy has been to look at our authorized service facilities and kind of streamline not only where we think it makes sense, but also where we believe there are opportunities,” explained Molloy, noting the new ASF will benefit the OEM’s clients on the West Coast. “We have relationships with a lot of providers throughout the U.S., but we don’t have them as an approved line maintenance provider where they can conduct warranty work on our behalf, for example,” Molloy told AIN. “This arrangement with ACI is about a partner that we’ve identified that we trust and that we feel can add value to not only our in-service aircraft but also new customers.”
Centrally located in the state, the San Luis Obispo location could also be a time saver for the more than 2,900 North America-based Bombardier Business Aircraft requiring maintenance. “Tucson, I think for a Bombardier customer who owns a plane in L.A. or San Francisco, is anywhere from a 90-minute to two-hour flight,” stated ACI Jet president and CEO William Borgsmiller, “as opposed to San Luis Obispo, which is about a 30-minute flight from either of those major metropolitan areas.” Currently, the facility can handle heavy checks on three Global-size aircraft simultaneously. ACI itself operates a quartet of Globals, along with four Challenger 600-series twinjets in its own charter fleet.
The news comes as ACI has begun a more-than-$18.5 million expansion of its 18-acre complex at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP), where it also operates the lone FBO. In addition to a new terminal, the company will be adding another approximately 12,000 sq ft of maintenance hangar space (which will bring it to 80,000 sq ft of aircraft repair, storage and tenant hangars), a 4,000-sq-ft parts warehouse increase and expanded interior, avionics, sheet metal, and wheel-overhaul shops—more than doubling their size, plus additional office space, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.
“California is a place where it’s expensive to build hangars, so you really have to make sure you use every square foot wisely,” said Borgsmiller. “I think San Luis Obispo is a unique spot because we’ve been here for 20 years. “We got in when the time was right, and it’s given us access to property and real estate at competitive rates where it still makes sense to do maintenance in California and build a new hangar.”
To support the influx of Bombardier-focused support work—an expected increase of 30 percent for each of the next two years—Borgsmiller’s company is recruiting to fill 15 additional full-time technical positions including A&P and avionics technicians, management positions, inspectors, and a project manager.