Bombardier (stand 7011) on Saturday officially placed a metaphorical stake in the European ground with the inauguration of its first wholly owned European service centre at Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
"This is a milestone in our international strategy," said James Hoblyn, Bombardier's president of customer services at the opening of the centre. That strategy calls for changing the current model - a North America-centric approach - to a hub and spoke system with three "super centre" primary hubs: North and South America, Asia, and the Europe, Africa and the Middle East region. The company plans to make Schiphol its hub for the European region.
"Each will be standalone but connected to our North American base for engineering and other services," said Hoblyn, adding that the company is halfway through the transition between the old model and the new. Standalone services at the super centres will include customer teams, parts, maintenance and training.
In Amsterdam, the new 4,240m2 (45,640ft2) service centre, leased for five years from Schiphol-based passenger and cargo airline Martinair, will first focus on light to heavy maintenance for the business aviation sector but could later be expanded to an adjacent property to handle both business aircraft and airline equipment including the Bombardier CSeries 110- to 145-seat twinjets, set for service entry in 2013.
In Amsterdam, Bombardier plans to add the Challenger 300 and Challenger 850 to its Learjet family and Challenger 604 and 605 Part 145 certifications by September. The company also plans to hire more maintenance technicians, increasing its employee count to 50 from 35 by October, with another 50 to be hired next year.
Facility general manager Jacques Comtois says the existing facility can handle four simultaneous aircraft projects, each with four to six dedicated technicians. At the inauguration, there were three aircraft in the facility, two Learjets and one Challenger 604.
The company's global footprint with the opening of the Schiphol location includes nine Bombardier-owned and 50 authorised service centres, eight part depots and five training locations.