New Zealand's Altitude Aerospace Interiors is planning to open a second production line in Auckland to take advantage of the burgeoning demand for VIP airliner completions and refurbishments.

The Christchurch-based Air New Zealand subsidiary has completed a number of major modifications and refurbishments and is gearing up to take on more green BBJ completions, having secured its first contract last year from an unnamed Asian customer. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in the middle of next year.

"The market for VIP airliners is growing again so we know that if we invest money in a second production line, it will pay off," said AAI business development manager Sue Hart.

The three-year-old company is the only completions outfit in the southern hemisphere and admits its location, limited brand exposure and age is still a deterrent for some potential clients, notably in Europe and the Middle East. "Although our design, technical and installation experience on 737 aircraft stems back several decades, the Altitude name is relatively new to the BBJ market," said Hart.

"Through our discussions with customers we can show them we have the experience and know-how to undertake the most complex programmes," she added. The effort seems to be paying off. "We are, however, getting a lot of interest from customers in China, India, Korea and the West Coast of America," Hart said. "We have submitted a number of bids for green BBJ completions and are holding some promising discussions at the moment."

Source: Flight International