Swiss completions and maintenance house AMAC Aerospace will start building a fourth hangar at its Basle base this year to cope with what chairman Kadri Muhiddin says is a growing pipeline of interior conversions on large VIP aircraft, including new-generation models such as the Boeing 787.
The company only last year opened a third hangar, its 8,400m2 (90,000ft2) interior able to cope with two widebody aircraft. Muhiddin says all three hangars are full of airliners in for completion or heavy maintenance and that it needs more capacity. Among its current backlog is a Boeing 747-8 for a Middle Eastern customer, which arrived late last year for a two-year outfitting.
The fourth hangar will be built on land originally earmarked for neighbour Jet Aviation, says Muhiddin. Both companies are among a small handful of European companies able to handle widebody airliner VIP completions.
AMAC was at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo to promote another side of its business. It is the distributor for the Pilatus PC-12NG in the Middle East, and, although none of the single-engine turboprops are in service in the region, the company's vice-president of strategic operations and business development Waleed Muhiddin is confident AMAC can crack the market.
"There is a prejudice in the Middle East about single-engine aircraft, with people just not knowing what the aircraft is capable of, but the PC-12 is suitable for many missions, including high-net-worths who want to land their aircraft on short strips in desert compounds or resorts. We have to educate the market," he says.
AMAC recently opened a maintenance facility for the PC-12 in Istanbul.