Back in the summer of 2017, when Land, Sea & Air Magazine first spoke with AMAC Aerospace’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Bernd Schramm, he spoke of receiving a steady stream of quotation requests and customer enquiries. It was these enquiries that he explained looked set to provide a strong future for one of the largest privately owned companies to offer narrow and wide body VIP maintenance and completion services for the corporate and private aviation market. He also told us of the need to maintain a strong balance between AMAC’s maintenance and completion activities in order to give it a sustainable and plannable workload.
Catching up with Bernd in October 2018 it quickly becomes clear that not only were his expectations for the near-future not misplaced, but that there was great wisdom in AMAC’s approach to its work. “Looking at overall performance in 2017, it was a very strong year in terms of maintenance projects, yet a much slower one when it came to completion activities, simply due to fewer new aircraft being sold throughout the industry,” he details. “The flow of maintenance contracts, including refurbishment and upgrade projects, continues to remain stable and we have been pleased to be awarded several of those few completion projects that are out there, including the recent awarding of a contract for work on a second Boeing 747/8, which has helped us tremendously.”
Other major recent projects to have been secured by AMAC include Corporate Jets’ decision to select its Basel, Switzerland centre to be one of only three facilities globally approved for the completion of its ACJ350 XWB aircraft, and a unique contract to complete the construction of the first Airbus A320neo aircraft. Meanwhile, the continued strength of the relationship between AMAC and Airbus can be seen in the fact that its Basel site has been recognised as an authorised A350 completion centre.
The reputation that AMAC has forged when it comes to quality, service excellence and on-time delivery has proved invaluable when it comes to securing work, even in times of lower market activity. Being what Bernd describes as an ‘integrator rather than a systems developer’, it has also remained vital that AMAC has its finger on the pulse of the latest technological developments and passenger trends that influence the corporate and private aviation market.
“In recent times, we have seen a marked improvement in things like satellite communication systems, meaning that connectivity is getting better, the transfer of data is faster and the volume of data able to shared is getting larger,” Bernd says. “As a result, there are more opportunities to increase and improve passenger experience, with aircraft owners and operators now looking to incorporate things such as streaming portals to show movies via their in-flight entertainment systems, 4K and 8K compatible monitors or screens, and the use of APPs to control things like lighting and sound within the actual cabin.”
A continuous stream of projects and contracts has also meant that the company has been able to move forward with several exciting investments of its own. At its home base in Basel, work is underway with the construction of a fifth hangar, which will assist AMAC in responding to increased demand for its services, while also providing its existing customers with the breadth of capabilities that they have come to expect. “The more completion projects we carry out successfully, the greater the possibility that these customers will later return to AMAC for our maintenance services, and we need capacity in order to facilitate this,” Bernd explains. “We have also seen a gradual increase in wide body aircraft needing our services and these obviously need space for work to be undertaken, so this is also a factor we take into consideration when investing in our facilities.”
Another important development, which arose from AMAC’s desire to seek out international expansion, has seen the opening of a new MRO facility at Bodrum-Milas airport in Turkey. “At the heart of this development is a new 4626 square meter maintenance hangar,” Bernd states. “This will allow us to carry out work on all Airbus single-aisle aircraft as well as all members of the Boeing 737 and 777 families.
“As we have already found through our efforts at our existing AMAC Aerospace Turkey facility at Atatürk International Airport, Turkey is a fantastic geographic location offering good access to both the rest of Europe and the Middle East, and we want to leverage this to attract more customers from the Middle East where the private aviation market continues to be strong. Going forward, we would also like to use our presence in Turkey to target commercial airline maintenance work for both local airlines and tour operators, and we are having detailed discussions with potential customers about how we can support them.”
Locating further expansion opportunities internationally is at the forefront of AMAC’s plans for the long-term growth of the business. To date, it has experienced considerable success with not only its AMAC Aerospace Turkey operations, but also those of JCB Aero, its sister company base in the south of France which has earned its reputation for being a leader in composite and carbon fibre production techniques, and Bernd hopes that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. “From an internal perspective, meanwhile, we will continue to develop our in-house design and manufacturing capabilities, while striving to maintain that healthy balance between completion and maintenance activities that has served us so well to date,” Bernd concludes.
New MRO facility opened at Bodrum Milas airport
Fifth hangar being added to Basel home base
New contracts with the likes of Airbus and Boeing