In less than 12 months, Dassault Aviation has rolled up a network of MRO facilities that has netted 19 new factory-owned service centers and nearly 1,000 additional workers. Dassault’s aim is to strengthen the OEM’s global service footprint in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa.
“We are committed to placing our industry-leading Falcon factory service capabilities as close as possible to customers around the world, while offering the same level of top-notch service for other prominent OEM brands,” said senior v-p of worldwide customer service and service center network Jean Kayanakis. “Our strategy is aimed at acquiring MRO operations that share our exceedingly high standards for customer service and that operate at the top end of the market.”
The French airframer kicked off its buying spree by announcing in January plans to acquire the business aircraft maintenance facilities of Luxaviation’s ExecuJet MRO centers in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The deal didn’t include ExecuJet’s FBOs and aircraft management business.
A month later, Dassault announced plans to acquire TAG Aviation’s MRO business, which included service centers in Geneva and Sion, Switzerland; Farnborough, UK; Paris Le Bourget; Lisbon, Portugal; and satellite operations in Luton, UK, and Moscow. That deal, which was completed on September 2, rebranded the service centers as TAG Maintenance Services, a wholly-owned Dassault Aviation affiliate, which will not only support Falcons but other OEM aircraft the TAG centers supported prior to the acquisition.
And in July, it acquired Ruag’s maintenance and FBO operations at Geneva and Lugano airports, which Dassault announced in September would be integrated into TAG Maintenance Services, including eventual consolidation of the Ruag and TMS maintenance approvals and processes. The Ruag FBO next door to the maintenance facility on the north side of the airport in Geneva, which was included in the acquisition, will continue operating under the Ruag brand name. The former Ruag maintenance facility is a Pilatus PC-12 service center and eventually will add PC-24 approval from Pilatus, according to Kayanakis. Some of the interiors expertise at the TMS facility on the south side of the airport will be moved to the north side, he said. “For optimization, it makes sense.” The organization, support services, and customer service are all being integrated. “This gives us more flexibility and capability,” he said, including the ability to service more and larger business jets in Geneva.
At Geneva, the former TAG and now TMS facility consists of two hangars that can fit up to 12 aircraft. About 80 percent of the work done there is on Falcon jets, with the remainder other OEMs' aircraft. In addition to its interiors capabilities, the south side facility has a curtained-off paint booth that can be erected to do anything from touch-ups to a complete paint job on a Falcon jet. Other capabilities at this TMS facility include full avionics installation and repair, a Part 21 office for engineering new modifications and upgrades, a non-destructive testing shop, tool calibration, lead-acid and nicad battery shops, and an AOG support center.
“Customers are glad to see us expanding our footprint,” Kayanakis said. “Our presence and backing of these facilities has increased around the world. This gives them confidence as well as choice.”
The ExecuJet acquisitions should take place soon, and this will add more new MRO facilities to the Dassault family in strategic locations. These facilities, which include key locations such as Dubai and South Africa, will retain the ExecuJet brand name and continue working on a variety of OEMs’ aircraft, not just Falcon jets.
“We have no plans to make any changes to the multi-OEM capability,” said Geoff Chick, senior v-p of Dassault Aviation’s worldwide service network. This is a very exciting year for customers to see the expansion. It seems we have the recipe somewhat right.”
Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said the company is always looking for opportunities to grow further. “However,” said Kayanakis, “we’re going back to strategy to expand our footprint in Asia and consolidate in Europe. There’s quite a lot to do there. It’s time to keep growing the activity for Falcon in these areas.”
In all, Dassault has a worldwide network of 50 company-owned and authorized service centers as well as a global Falcon spares distribution network comprising 16 logistics centers.