Sales of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) have been booming over the past two years, which is good news for US company Landmark Aviation, the business aviation arm of the Carlyle Group.
Landmark became the umbrella brand for fixed-base operator and maintenance providers Piedmont Hawthorne, Garrett Aviation and completions specialist Associated Air Center, in a major launch at last year’s National Business Aviation Aircraft convention in Orlando.
Six months on and business is growing in all areas, but it is success through the completions of the Airbus jetliner that Associated Air Center (AAC) is celebrating.
“We are delighted to be at Geneva where we can meet so many of our customers,” says AAC president Jeff Bosque. “Because of the very nature of our work every single customer has unique requirements and it is great to review these with them.”
AAC is currently working on its tenth ACJ completion – a fact that prompts Bosque to describe his Dallas Love Field facility as the “world’s number one completion centre for the ACJ”.
Six completions are under way at Dallas and include one for Swiss VIP charter operator Comlux and another for Dr Vijay Maliya, chairman of India’s Kingfisher Airlines and brewery.
Typically, the completion of an ACJ will take a year and cost in the region of $12 million. “Of course there is no such thing as typical,” says Bosque. “Our customers expect to be unique – they don’t wear other people’s shoes. Every interior is carefully designed around the customer’s particular requirements.  We do our best to accommodate them, but we failed miserably to find a way to get one customer’s grand piano certified to withstand 9g.
Bosque says the integration with the other Landmark Aviation businesses is already beginning to show through. “While we haven’t made any direct sales as a result of the new organisation we are making major inroads. The access to an experienced management team and the financial support is helping us achieve more.”
AAC specialises in the large jetliner completions for business and corporate use. It has recently completed a Boeing 747-400 and has a couple of customers looking at an Airbus A380 design. But Bosque believes it is the new Boeing model – the 787 Dreamliner – that could make an impact on the business aviation market.
“We are working on some concepts that we think will work well,” he says.
That view is backed up by Boeing Business Jet’s chief executive Steve Hill. “We think that the 787 will make a superb business aircraft with the cabin size of the 767 and smaller than the 777. It would have the range to go anywhere in the world in a business configuration.
“The downside is that the aircraft is so popular with the airlines that we are already talking about 2012 as the earliest slot available for a business aircraft derivative.”
Bosque agrees. “If you are going to want one, then do it now!”

Source: Flight Daily News