The FASt track to success
Abu Dhabi-headquartered Falcon Aviation Services has reported a 20% uplift in its third-party MRO business in 2016 and has set an ambitious target of a further 30% growth for this year. Barbara Saunders reports.
Nicolas Tejera, a 45-year-old Spaniard, is the company’s director of maintenance, who is leading a full remoulding of the FAS technical department.
Tejera said the boost was due to a “significant restructuring” of Falcon’s MRO offering, a greater focus on sales and client relations. “It has resulted in our busiest year yet for third-party business on the maintenance side,” he said.
“We have competed on client satisfaction, on increasing the type and depth of our services. We have sent people for additional training and invested heavily in our planning department, increasing the staff count three-fold over the past seven months.
“Our target for 2017 is ambitious but very realistic. Our constraint now is not with client requirements, but with space.”
Falcon’s space constraints are likely to end in 18 months’ time, when its 15,000sqm multi-purpose hangar, being built at Al Maktoum International in Dubai, opens for maintenance and parking of VIP jets.
The hangar is 250% larger than its current Abu Dhabi facility and will have an adjoining wash bay and backshop.
Tejera said Falcon’s reputation as an approved Embraer service centre, along with certification from Bombardier and Gulfstream, has stood it in great stead, particularly for the growing business jet market.
“We are cooperating closely with the manufacturers, who realise that it’s not only about selling aircraft these days but also about providing the service requirements. That’s where we come in because we can manage the warranties,” explained Tejera.
FAS, which has its own corporate jet fleet of two Embraer Legacy 600s, a Gulfstream 450 and Embraer Lineage 1000, in addition to a substantial rotor-wing fleet, is now looking to forge strategic alliances with engine and component manufacturers and aircraft interiors specialist companies.
“We are very close to finalising an agreement with an aircraft interior specialist to represent it for refurbishment, repairs and modifications,” explained Tejera. “The whole proposition will be to reduce downtime for owners and operators.”
On the Falcon drawing board is the possibility of rolling Falcon Engineering out into a separate branded service offering.
“The idea would be for this to service the GCC market, where there are various aircraft management companies requiring these kind of services.” said Tejara.
He added that the company has been receiving a string of requests from the Saudi and Indian markets and is now pursuing approvals certification from the relevant authorities in both countries.
Falcon, which also has a fleet of six Dash Q400s, is also hoping that its 2016 record of operating the turbo-props to 96% reliability will enable it to escalate its capabilities in providing higher level of maintenance services for the twin-engine series in the near future.