DN - Defence Notes

AMAC opens its doors for VIP completions

28th November 2008 - 19:32 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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AMAC Aerospace, the new Swiss-based corporate/VIP completions operation unveiled at the EBACE show in May, has just started work in the first of two new hangars at Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport.

The company aims to take on European industry leaders Jet Aviation Basel and Lufthansa Technik in bidding for projects as big as the Airbus A380. “When we launch we’ll be the third largest completions centre in the world,” chairman Kadri Muhiddin earlier this year. AMAC’s first hangar measures 4,200 sq m. A second to be opened in the middle of next year will add 8,400 sq m, giving the company a total capacity of two narrowbodies and two widebodies at a time.

The company is now refurbishing a Middle Eastern-owned Airbus A320 and says it holds a number of firm orders and letters of intent for other completion and maintenance work. It currently has more than a hundred employees, a figure that is expected to grow to over 250 by the end of next year.

“We set ourselves an ambitious goal a year ago, and we are pleased that we have been now been able to start work as planned,” says AMAC chief executive Heinz Köhli. The former Jet Aviation boss may find himself with a fight on his hands, however.

The company was set up last year against the background of a booming VIP completions market and evidence of a global capacity shortfall. Now there are signs that even VIP “untouchables” are beginning to feel the pinch – it was reported at the MEBA show in Dubai earlier this month that a Boeing 787 BBJ contract had been cancelled. Incumbents like Lufthansa Technik have warned of the dangers of an oversupply of completions capacity. Heinz Köhli must be crossing his fingers that he can keep his two hangars economically loaded over the next few years.      

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