AMAC Aerospace Offering Swiss Excellence to Business Aviation

Waleed Muhiddin, VP Strat. Ops & Business Dev. at AMAC Aerospace.

How has AMAC seen its own success is attracting a larger market share?

AMAC Aerospace has attracted its clients through the mediums of offering Swiss Excellence to Business Aviation regardless if the project is Maintenance and/or refurbishment/completions.  With only a handful of good centers around the world that cater for Business Aviation, it is understandable that one would approach a centre like ours with prudence.  Slot availabilities are paramount in securing the stress-free no nonsense attitude that comes from the work carried out in Switzerland. Sometimes one can find their aircraft in a not so well known centre, where the project slips and all sorts of excuses ensue.  We pride ourselves on aiming to return to service the aircraft that are released on time and on budget as at the end of the day the operations that these aircraft fly are crucial to the principle and his/her agenda.

Word of mouth and relationships are also key in securing projects.  When a flight engineer who has flown with an aircraft for 5 years and has come to know the best centres around the world, we endeavor to give these flight engineers the peace of mind that they expect from an input.  We have seen over the course of our small existence that these type of people enjoy the interaction that come with our professional staff, the ease in which principle like to fly to Switzerland than the other corners of the world and to have these returning clients come back to us because they know they have given us their aircraft with trust, which means good marketing.

We know companies around the world have branched out to other regions of the world.  We know that reasons of geography can sway a decision but AMAC have the professional people already in hand, AMAC have the geography and we have a good reputation.  Market share therefore either remains stagnant because AMAC isn’t doing what we carry out in our mission statement or we increase our share due to a whole factor of reasons as identified above.

Has the increased demand driven further expansion plans, i.e. Hangar 4?

AMAC Aerospace has been in ‘expansion’ mode for some time now.  We realized from the outset that demand would be incremental and so far to date, with the requests that keep coming in, we have learned that there is a demand and it all stems from slot availabilities.  Hangar 4 is to supplement the demand we are receiving on wide body maintenance but to optimize the daily operations that take place at the Euroairport Basel/Mulhouse. We offer turnkey solutions to all our esteemed and potential clientele.  With the knowledge that AMAC outfit some of the best aircraft in the world and knowing that these ‘Elite’ aircraft require tender handling, we will be in a position to say that we have outfitted these cabins and therefore know how to remove these cabins and rebuild them with our experienced personnel. Like with anything in this world, when something works well, then the aim is to better the standard and expand to offer more.  We do not claim that we are the pinnacle of the best but we do try.  With trying we therefore want the world to know who we are and what we stand for.  In this respect we invite all business aviation owners to come and see us to understand why and what we are catering for.

Does AMAC plan on growing any further in Switzerland or abroad, particularly China and the SAR’s?

AMAC Aerospace have been doing studies in the last few years to understand a little more about the various regions in the world and the catchments that these places have as with the demands that are associated with them.  AMAC Aerospace is not in a position at the moment to commit any firm decisions as our Upper Management, whom remain as the main shareholders of the company reserve the right to explore and make decisions as and when necessary and based on a strict strategy of growth.  Some people might say ‘well Hangar 4 will take up a lot of time and resources’ and we would not be the first to disagree as expanding and growing all take a certain amount of time and energy.  What we are able to commit to, is that if the opportunity and money are available, we will move forward.  The only remaining factor that remains away from the public eye is when – time.

Will AMAC be recruiting any time soon or how do you handle recruitment with an increase by nearly 35%?

A physical increase requires more personnel to host the work that is being carried out.  As stressed in a previous answer, the personnel for this ramp up is a well executed exercise in terms of recruiting the best from the industry and over a course of around the next 12 months.  As we experienced after the economic crisis in 2008, companies had put recruitment on the back burner so as not to show too much expenditure when companies needed to cut back.  This was contrary to AMAC Aerospace at the time, where we were almost wondering where we would source a lot of the good people within the industry.  With crisis comes discomfort and with discomfort comes new chapters.  AMAC Aerospace has always been lucky to pick the best of the available international and domestic talent pools.  AMAC is in a continuous phase of recruitment and has been for the last 7 years.

Where do you find these highly-skilled people and how do you keep them?

AMAC Aerospace has a global reach for employment. With over 40x nationalities that work together as one organization, it is easy to understand that the allure of such highly specialized skills is a natural requirement for us.  Whether we have expert leather craftsman, cabinet makers, stress engineers and/or management, job security remains and can be considered one of the last few industries that keep their people due to the nature of our work and with the daily challenges that make it interesting to work.  Team work is essential, open communication is paramount, finding solutions is key and yet our people still stay with us because they know that whenever we have signed a new contract, the work that follows, keeps their minds sharp and their brains engaged.  The different types of social engagements we have with our people is frequent, therefore everyone knows everyone and the social bonds that exist are strong and not only between workers but also between workers and their supervisors and management alike.

Has any party approached AMAC based on recent success for foreign representation?

AMAC receives interest on a daily basis.  People enquire about partnerships, stake holder investments and/or the creations of a subsidiary elsewhere around the world. Internal studies have taken us to South Asia, Far East Asia and the African continent for analysis in Foreign Direct Investments but none have met our criteria of expansion or some of these studies have been left on the back burner.  The only Joint Venture that is in place right now is a partnership with Pilatus for representing the civil commercial products of both the PC-12’s and the PC-24’s for exclusive distribution in the Middle East.  We champion the Pilatus products because AMAC has 2x PC-12’s under our own management and operation.

If the question pertains to foreign approvals, we seek those approvals based on where our client’s have registered their aircraft.  For example we acquired the Brazilian approval as we once had a customer who has an aircraft under the Brazilian registrar, it served us to work on our client’s aircraft but it also paves the way for any future projects that might come our way.

If anyone has approached AMAC, what sort of projects have been proposed?

We have recently been asked to look further into the Chinese market for foreign based representation, with an intent to building a hangar for MRO operations.  There are several factors to take into account.  The Geography, the law, which dictates how a company can be created, the operations and employee rights, the agreements that are with these airports or Aviation Parks, the local demographics of people, which serve to give AMAC a cross section of what local expertise exists as well as studies that look at business aviation movements.

The project, as interesting as it may be, can take a long time, therefore the time factor can either work in favor or not.  For AMAC, this is a study that looks at another hangar existing half way across the world.  In order for such a venture to lift off the ground, a great deal of ground work is required as with planning the affects of such an investment.

How has your completion project on your first Asian ACJ been progressing, since last reporting?

Our first Asian client project is moving along well.  AMAC are in the final phases of installation and we have already moved onto cabin testing and test flights.  The downtime of this project is relatively short and so the production of all the interior monuments, seats and decorative interior elements have been accelerated in order that we can complete this project with our client’s satisfaction in mind. The world renowned ‘Alberto Pinto’ headed by Mr. Yves Pickardt have taken this amazing aircraft and turned it into a flying master class of design and space orientation.  Anyone looking for the finest designers should enquire as the level of sophistication and attention to detail(s) is mind blowing. True to form and because we believe we have the best people in the industry, we release every project as an ‘Elite’ aircraft from AMAC.  For each cabin interior and livery, they are completely unique, no other aircraft in the world exists with the same floor plan nor detail to decoration.

Has your first Asian ACJ project prompted enquiries for similar projects?

AMAC are due to return our first Asian aircraft in the next few weeks.  We hope that this completion will serve as a flag carrier to the craftsmanship and efforts we have given this project, which in turn we hope will market itself with other Asian potential clients.  What is hard to say now, is whether this completion will generate any requests in the immediate near-term.  Although, there are only a handful of dedicated centers around the world that cater to this level of work an therefore we have no doubt that in the future we will end up seeing requests for ACJ’s, BBJ’s and perhaps even wide body aircraft.

Will the recent perceived slowdown in China affect AMAC’s long-term planning for the region?

The Chinese economic slowdown has only just occurred. Typically business aviation sees most affects after several months, in general.  The Chinese Business Aviation market has strong potential for having a large quantity of aircraft.  Having said that, AMAC have only one project to concentrate on at the moment, therefore any results of the economic slowdown won’t become so evident.

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