Every aviation industry company gave their best to face the unprecedente corona year 2020. Some did better, some suffered more. To explore how the previous year impacted the business and development strategies, we are reaching out to different professionals. This time, we had the opportunity to look back and discuss some essential points with Rudi Kurz, Director Maintenance and Accountable Manager CAMO and Waleed Muhiddin, Director Business Development & Marketing, AMAC Aerospace.
Q. The first question is obvious - how did AMAC Aerospace managed during the year 2020 and how did Corona impact your business?
A. Rudi Kurz: Surprisingly, it was a good year for us. We were very busy with projects and for sure we cannot about a lack of work, far from it. Of course, the corona crisis has had a huge impact on our organization. We had to re-organize many procedures very quickly in order to assure the best condition(s) for work. Thanks to the fact that our management structure is very lean, we were very efficient and fast in decision making processes and adapting to the varied situations. A simple example: We invested in a mini-test center at our premises and we had it built-up even before local hospitals had them. We could test every member of our staff, or quickly isolate them if they tested positive but in reality we had very few cases so far in the company. We also decided to preempt any adverse effects of our operational times and so decided to organize the our normal work days in two shifts, again to minimize any risk of contamination and risk of spreading.
We were really busy, sometimes we had 50 aircraft in the facility. We completed all scheduled projects on time, although we welcomed a lot of unexpected ones. Many aircraft owners decided to bring forward their due maintenance, thus taking advantage of the period while they could not fly due to all the restrictions. So, their aircraft were ready to take off as soon as the situation went back to normal. An important strength of ours, is our capability to adapt to the client’s needs and situation, our flexibility to propose solutions and our willingness to always find a way.
Waleed Muhiddin: The situation with our locations in Istanbul and Bodrum was slightly different, as Bodrum for example is more dependent on airlines. Istanbul is more specialized in maintenance tasks for mid-size jets like Pilatus and Dassault. Our pool of in-house resources allowed us to adapt our processes to any situation, using our highly qualified work force in different locations, assuring the best level of workmanship, accommodation and expertise. The Turkish market has his own rules and regulations, but I must say, they were really flexible in order to have work related activities move forward and get completed.
Q. Strategically speaking, how much you will adjust the development plan for next year?
A. Rudi Kurz: We will continue with our strategy in place. The order books for the first 3 months of 2021 are quite full already. Our long-term project outlook makes us confident for next 2 years at least. We have been commissioned with a few head of state aircraft, so whatever season, day or night, the scheduled maintenance or completion has to be done properly. We’ve noticed also a lot of used aircraft transactions. We assume, due to corona crisis, some commercial airline’s business and first class passengers decided to minimize their travel risk and to charter an aircraft or even buy one on the second market. For us this is good news: More charter activity means more maintenance projects, obviously, and therefore more potential clients for AMAC. So, we are confident for both business units, maintenance and completion.
Waleed Muhiddin: To maintain a strong relationship with our clients it is key to our job to listen very attentively. As our usual ways of communication and meeting with existing and potential clients are not possible currently, we have to create new, innovative channels. We are doing our best to stay in touch and keep confidence of our clients. We are glad to know that our actions speak louder than words. Many of our new clients are contacting us based on our personal client recommendations. And our clients appreciate the fact that 90 – 95% of the whole production is done in-house, which is very unique. We offer full transparency to the client, at every stage of our work, starting with the proposal, step-by step progression with regard to production milestones, follow-ups on problems, declarations to the associated air authorities and finally the hand over to our clients. Clarity is key, and the process is the same whether the client has an on-site representative or not. With united efforts, we do the job on time and make sure that our clients are fully satisfied.
Rudi Kurz: I would like to mention the latest development at our facilities in Basel. Soon we will celebrate the inauguration of Hangar number 5! It comes right on time! It will be dedicated to Bombardier & Gulfstream maintenance services, with a capacity of up to five Global 7500 aircraft (5x bays). This will allow us to use our Hangar number 1 for BBJ and A320 aircraft. Actually, we have 3 wide-body hangars at our facility, that can cater for a variety of combinations of aircraft sizes, either 2x narrow body aircraft and 1x wide body and/or 2x wide body and 1x narrow body (per wide body hangar), therefore as a total facility we can accommodate many aircraft at any one time. We hope that we will be able to invite soon our friends, clients and industry colleagues for an opening ceremony to celebrate together!
Waleed Muhiddin: Let’s say that we will do every job the best way we can, as always. We will closely monitor the situation to see if we need to adapt our plan in any of our locations. We hope that the situation will improve, for the whole aviation industry, but also for everyone else and that we can relaunch the “normal” life for every industry sector.
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