Iberia's new business aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul division, Corjet Maintenance, which began operations in late February, aims to bring benefits from large aircraft support to executive jets.

The 50:50 joint venture with executive aviation company Gestair Group, operates from Iberia Maintenance's premises in Madrid and Barcelona. It employs around 65 staff and is targeting an annual revenue of around €10 million ($14 million).

The company is an authorised repair centre for Gulfstream and Dassault Falcon aircraft. It supports Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney engines as well as Rockwell Collins avionics.

The central difference to Iberia's traditional airline MRO services is that the new business will not concentrate on supporting large fleets but individual aircraft with specific requirements, says José Luis Quirós Cuevas, sales, marketing and business development vice-president at Iberia Maintenance.

However, Corjet will support the 80-strong fleet of aircraft, which Gestair is managing.

While the Iberia's core activities are not "100% compatible" with the business aviation field, it still offers many areas where it can provide executive aircraft operators with "experience and "sensibility" from maintaining large aircraft, such as ensuring immediate aircraft availability, minimum ground times and high cabin standards, says Quirós Cuevas.

Customers can also benefit from extensive engine and component maintenance services as well as the logistics and procurement chain arrangements of a large organisation, which could help to reduce costs turnaround times.

Iberia's objective in the new business is to diversify its capabilities and be less dependent on seasonal changes in large aircraft MRO and economic fluctuations.

While Quirós Cuevas expects demand for executive aircraft MRO to increase in general, he sees particular growth opportunity in supporting air force-operated executive aircraft.

Given the experience of Iberia Maintenance and its new partner BA Engineering, he also does not rule out that VIP completions for large aircraft could play a bigger role in future: "Both companies have a massive experience in almost every Airbus or Boeing product and interior items manufacturers, being directly applicable to VIP configurations. Head of state airplanes on 757, A310 and other Airbus and Boeing airplanes have been already refurbished in our facilities."

Source: Flight International