Comlux opens new completion facility at IND
Capable of accommodating up to 4 narrowbody aircraft at a time, the new Comlux America facility at IND has everything under one roof. To date, Comlux America has completed 1 ACJ319, 1 ACJ320 and a BBJ3, and has refurbished a Boeing 767.
Comlux America's new VIP aircraft completion center at IND (Intl, Indianapolis IN) is open for business. Numerous customers, employees and invited guests attended an official grand opening ceremony on Sep 12.
The facility boasts a total floorspace of 129,000 sq ft, which includes a hangar, back shops, design center, program management quarters and customer offices. The hangar portion, at 64,000 sq ft, is designed to house up to 4 narrowbody aircraft at a time.
Workshops and offices occupy 2 floors. Company policy is to incorporate every technical discipline required for VIP aircraft completion, thus eliminating reliance on external business partners.
David Edinger, Comlux America's CEO, aims at a 4-month production cycle time per project.
Comlux America has chosen to integrate all shops under the same roof—sheet metal, cabinetry, systems, avionics, upholstery and finishing.
In addition, the engineering department, interior design center, certification group, technical publications and document control center are accessible directly from the hangar floor, as are the program management offices, planning, procurement and senior management team. Customer offices include a prayer room for Middle Eastern clients.
In late 2008, when Comlux acquired Indianapolis Jet Center, a Bombardier service center, there were 30 employees. Today there are 350. "This is a good place to do business," says Comlux USA Pres Ettore Rodaro. He adds that both airport and local authorities have been supportive of the project since day one.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker (L), a potential future customer, with Comlux Group Pres & CEO Richard Gaona.
While Sep 12 marked the official opening of the facility, Comlux America began making the transition to the new building in early July. By September it was already in operation and work on a Boeing BBJ and a 757 was in full swing.
According to Pres & CEO David Edinger, Comlux America will continue to focus on cabin completions for narrowbody aircraft—specifically, Airbus ACJs and Boeing BBJs. While Edinger doesn't rule out adding widebody completions at some point, he notes that such a move would require a fivefold increase in the workforce and confirms that narrowbodies are the priority for the foreseeable future.
"Let's make sure we can do narrowbodies first, and do them right," he says. "This place is not your normal completion facility... Customers will come to you because you are the best."
Comlux Group Pres & CEO Richard Gaona says, "We're not interested in position number 2... If we deliver quality on time we'll be okay." —Phil Rose
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