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No matter where they are based geographically, aircraft operators share one common attitude toward their component repair and overhaul (CR&O) service. They want reliable support at a fair price, and as quickly as possible.
Rising to that challenge is the mission of Able Aerospace Services Inc., one of the world’s leading one-stop shops for repair, overhaul, approved replacement parts and helicopter completion services. Located in a state-of-the-art, 200,000 square-foot headquarters at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona, Able’s more than 450 employees are dedicated to providing the highest quality rotor-wing and fixed-wing services to more than 1,000 commercial and military customers in over 60 countries across the globe. As it grows, Able has increasingly turned its attention to a region-by-region growth plan – the best way it has found to bring the Able advantage to new customer groups.
“By dividing our efforts into key global regions and then building strong channel partner relationships within those regions, we can export our solutions to operators much like we would if we were a trusted in-country provider,” said Able’s Senior Vice President of Operations Heidi McNary.
The key to this process is giving local owners and operators close access to Able’s component and assembly inventories, avoiding the irksome challenges that slow down many helicopter repairs.
“By the time someone overseas takes a rotor hub off their helicopter, ships it to Able for repair, and then receives the restored part back for reinstallation, a great deal of time could pass, with their helicopter grounded during the entire process,” said McNary.
“We help operators avoid this lost productivity by sending them a serviceable assembly directly from our closest inventory location, so that they can get it onto their aircraft quickly and get back to flying within days rather than weeks or months,” said Able’s Vice President of Business Development John Celigoy. “Meanwhile, their hub makes its way to Able, where we repair it and put it back into our rotable pool for the next customer who needs a working part fast.”
Able further speeds up the global support process by remaining broadly certified by groups including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CCAT), National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), and its latest addition, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India. The company is also an approved Bell Helicopter Service Center, an Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo approved repair facility, and holds AS9100 and AS9110 certificates of registration.
Within the last few years, Able has also worked to establish an export compliance team to help educate customers and channel partners on regulations and best practices to safely accelerate its global activity.
Able controls costs and lead time by completing more than 99 percent of all repair work in house, rather than contracting it out to third-party suppliers. “Doing this eliminates the middle man, speeds up deliveries, and allows us to keep a very close eye on quality,” said McNary.
“Our new affiliation as a Textron company also allows us to tap into the distribution and service networks of a global brand that includes Bell Helicopter, Cessna and Beechcraft – even as we maintain world-class capabilities to repair virtually all other aircraft platforms, from Airbus, Leonardo and Sikorsky to Boeing and a full range of military models,” added Celigoy. “The result is even faster service to our customers everywhere.”
What started as a three-person shop decades ago has become one of the largest repair and overhaul facilities in the world, employing a team of highly trained mechanics, engineers, aviation technicians, sales, customer service and purchasing support experts.
Able’s future looks equally bright. As more operators learn that an expertly repaired part can save them up to 50 percent when compared to the price of the same part purchased new, more of them are turning to Able for help.
“Our international business has grown to 25 percent of the work we do annually, and that percentage is likely to double in the next four years as we continue our global growth strategy,” said Celigoy. “It’s not that we will be doing less work at home; just much more around the world. This is our future and it is very exciting.”