Swiss aerospace group Ruag is stepping up its business aircraft refurbishment offering in an attempt to expand its share of this profitable niche and exploit its engineering expertise.

"We have a strong presence in the maintenance, repair and overhaul business and have a large number of skilled engineers working in the commercial and military sides of the company who can help to develop this pillar of our strategy," says Ruag's vice-president for business aviation Beat Höhener.

Ruag provides MRO for numerous business aircraft and helicopter types across its four sites in Germany and Switzerland. The bulk of its refurbishment work is undertaken in Geneva and Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich.

Ruag's first big interior upgrade - on a Cessna Citation 650 - was performed at its German base in 2006. "In Geneva, we have been doing cabin refurbishments for more than 30 years - in the beginning on Dassault Falcon 10, 20 and 50 business jets, including avionics upgrades and engine retrofits," says Höhener.

Ruag has since added the large-cabin Falcon 2000 and 900 series and the long-range 7X to its line-up. At the end of 2008 Ruag joined forces with German VIP interior specialist List Holding. Together have refurbished three aircraft to date 2009 - two Embraer Legacy 600s and a Bombardier Challenger 300. "We hope to increase this number to around seven or eight in 2010," Höhener says.

Ruag plans to focus on traditional large-cabin business jets, but will continue to refurbish the smaller aircraft types manufactured by its established customers including Cessna, Piaggio and Pilatus. "Maybe in 10 years time we will move into VIP airliner refurbishment and even green aircraft completions, but our immediate aim is to build a strong business and strong profits," says Höhener.

Source: Flight International