Arnaud Martin, executive vice president of Comlux The Aviation Group, explains why the company is teaming up with Texel Air to offer line maintenance, cabin upgrades and refurbishment services in the Middle East
How important a market is the Middle East?
The Middle East is still the number one VIP market in terms of number of aircraft and there is a requirement for a high-quality facility locally to support the fleet as it continues to grow and evolve.
How does this arrangement meet your customers’ needs?
This new arrangement provides a local solution for light to medium-light maintenance and cabin upgrades for clientele based in or traveling through the Middle East. It gives them the opportunity to avoid long ferry flights to Europe or the USA, while offering a level of quality and expertise consistent with our USA-based facility, Comlux America.
Why are you focusing on ACJ and BBJ narrow-body aircraft? Might you expand to other aircraft types in the future?
The ACJ and BBJ narrow-body aircraft are our core products both in operation and cabin completion, so we are confident starting with this product line. These aircraft types are also very popular in the region. We will see in the future what can evolve around this.
What will be your capacity at the Bahrain facility?
At first, the Bahrain facility will handle line maintenance and A checks. It will also be able to offer minor refurbishment services – including, but not limited to, carpet replacement, seat upholstery and CMS system upgrades. We will grow and evolve in the first 18 months as we become more familiar with our customers’ needs in the region.
Will the arrangement also open up completion capacity at your US facility?
The objective is to capture local work in the Bahrain facility, and concentrate on bigger jobs (completions or heavy refurbishment projects) at our facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in setting up this venture? How long has it taken to reach this stage?
It has taken six months to come to an agreement on this venture. The biggest challenge has been to perfectly understand how responsibility will be shared between the two companies, while maintaining high efficiency and meeting our customers’ needs.
What qualities make Texel Air the right partner?
The qualities that make Texel Air the right partner for Comlux and our customers are both its facilities and internal maintenance skills.
Can you detail the interior services you will offer in Bahrain?
The interior services offered in Bahrain will include seat upholstery, varnishing and moderate system upgrades. The services we can offer will expand over time, based on our clients’ requirements.
What facilities and equipment will be used to support these services?
The facilities and equipment will be mainly that of Texel Air. However, we also have some other support facilities in the area that we can utilize as needed.
How many people will be employed to support the interior services? How many Comlux America employees will relocate to Bahrain?
The number of employees will depend on the volume of business, but currently the plan is for the head count to range from 30 to 60 people, with the majority being local. Our plan is to send only a few key people from abroad to oversee and support the operation, to optimize costs and lead time. We will recruit individuals via our local partners, and Texel Air will also recruit directly.
When will the service center open?
We expect the first aircraft input into the Texel Air facilities to be within the next 3 to 4 months, depending on customers and regulatory approvals.