Switzerland’s Jet Aviation has put all its previous troubles behind it and is now poised to aggressively grow all its business units, says company president Robert Smith.

In fact, so confident is Smith that its Basel completions operation – the heart of its recent problems – is now able to work at full tilt that he hopes it will be the first interiors firm to deliver a fully outfitted VVIP Boeing 787 to a customer.

That claim sounds even more bullish when you realise that unlike some of its rivals, so far it has no contract in place with a customer for the Dreamliner, let alone the aircraft itself in its hangars.

“We haven’t done any 787s yet, but I’d like to think that will be changing soon,” says Smith. “We have done R&D focus and we want to be one of the first to redeliver a 787.”

The turnaround at Jet has been marked, with Phebe Novokovic, chief executive of its General Dynamics parent moved to remark earlier this year that it had “walked out of the shadow of the valley of death”.

Smith, who came into the job a little over two years ago, blames Jet’s prior problems on a “combination of several forces at once”. The result of which was that it was “not completing projects on time”.

That has all changed now, he says, and the site has “turned a corner” and “customers are seeing improved performance from the facility”. Its two most recent projects were both delivered on schedule this year, he notes.

There are another three aircraft currently being outfitted at Basel – two narrowbodies and a widebody – with one earmarked for handover by year-end.

Meanwhile, its FBO network continues to grow. It will shortly rebrand a facility in Nassau as Jet Aviation Bahamas and will add further operations at Munich, Germany and Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

“I don’t expect those to be the end,” says Smith. “We are looking to increase the network and we are not just looking at traffic but being in the locations our customers want to travel to.”

Its MRO operation is also performing well, he says, with new facilities in Singapore and Vienna, Austria added this year.

As a sister company of Gulfstream, however, one area that jet cannot afford to neglect is its relationships with all the other OEMs in the sector.

“Our job is to be a third-party of service. If you ask me if I thought our relationship [with Gulfstream] would deepen, then the answer would be yes, but I’d say that for each of the OEMs,” says Smith.

Repeating that message is a constant process, says, but he asks its OEM customers to judge it on its actions. “We can tell them what they want to hear, but performance is the best indicator.”

Source: Flight Daily News