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By Kevin Fincham, Head of Completions Management
The refurbishment of any aircraft is no easy feat and there are many different facets to consider to ensure the project is completed without a hitch. That is why my role within ExecuJet as Head of Completions Management is so vital to the client. I have to have the passion, attention to detail and a duty to our clients to capture their visions, wishes and ideas in order to bring them to life on-board the aircraft. This can encompass numerous aspects, which fall under three main categories: paint, soft goods and technology. Each aspect of a refurbishment or completions project is fully tailored to the client’s specifications.
A Sign of the Times
At ExecuJet, and within the business aviation market in general, we are seeing a lot of interest in aircraft refurbishments and upgrades. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, from a fiscal viewpoint, many of our clients see great value in refurbishing an existing aircraft for $4 million rather than spending up to $60 million on a new aircraft. Secondly, some clients have already purchased a new aircraft but must often wait 2 to 3 years before it is delivered. As a result, clients may then decide to refurbish their existing aircraft. This usually has an additional benefit of increasing the current aircraft’s saleability when their new jet is delivered.
To illustrate this point further, I recently worked on the refurbishment of a 2008 Gulfstream 450, which was an intensive – yet satisfying - project. View the 360o tour below.
The client wanted to completely refurbish their 8-year-old G450 from flight deck to baggage bay, as well as add a new custom paint scheme. Meeting the client during the initial specification stage is always one of the most important steps in establishing requirements, tastes and expectations. It is also the chance for me to build a strong relationship of open communication and trust with the client. In this case, what I learned was that the client wanted a “simple” yet modern interior with a fully digital entertainment suite. The cabin was to look like a brand new aircraft with no evidence of the old interior or style.
Decked-Out In-Flight Entertainment
We partnered with Gulfstream at their Savannah facility in Georgia, USA. Working closely with Gulfstream, they produced digital renderings that allowed us to visualise each part of the new interior before a single tool was lifted. The Gulfstream engineering department expertly designed and developed the entertainment system. We proposed 3 high-definition displays, 2 Blu-ray players, 3 HDMI ports, 1 USB port and a high-speed Internet connection to be installed. As a result, the whole cabin is controllable from a smartphone or tablet, including media selection, volume, lights and window shades.
The entire G450 refurbishment process took six months to complete. My role encompasses managing not only the physical process of the refurbishment but also ensuring the project is kept on time and to budget, as well as inspecting every refurbished item and detail before reinstallation. Gulfstream was great to work with and we were able to complete every part of the refurbishment at their facility, which is not always possible with refurbishment centres. Completing the refurbishment at one location enabled us to streamline the process including downtime and parts production, and to eliminate transit-induced defects.
I thoroughly enjoy the challenges each refurbishment or completion consultation and management project brings. Working with clients makes each assignment unique as I tailor outcomes to individual needs, desires and visions for how an airplane interior should look and feel. Seeing a beautifully engineered, solid, well-built aircraft with a new, comfortable, high-tech interior that meets or exceeds safety standards gives an aircraft a new lease of life, or sometimes a new life entirely. This is the icing on the cake! And to top it all off, I am able to fulfil the ExecuJet brand commitment where excellence and safety are the cornerstones of our organisation. Our collective passion for outstanding customer service sets us apart.
If you would like to discuss your next aircraft refurbishment or completion project with me, please contact me directly on email@example.com