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Monday, March 1, 2004

Genesis Aviation, Airline Saver

- James Careless- Bob Howie

Since being founded by president/CEO Santiago Lluhi in 1994, Genesis Aviation has pursued one goal: "To provide superior service and support to major, regional, and cargo airlines, original equipment manufacturers, heavy maintenance facilities, and parts suppliers world wide," he said.

Apparently this strategy has paid off for this independent repair station located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Today Genesis Aviation offers services for hydraulic, pneumatic, electronic, electrical, and electromechanical components found in Airbus, Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, ATR, Bombardier, Embraer, and SAAB aircraft.

"Our success is built on long-term relationships with our airline clients," Lluhi explained. "They know they can count on us for properly executed work completed on time and within budget. This matters, because we don't sell on price: we sell on quality. After all, what's the point of saving $200 on a repair if your aircraft is subsequently grounded because the new part fails and has to be replaced under warranty?"

Reputation is so central to Genesis Aviation's success, in fact, that much of the company's new business comes from customer referrals. To help the process along, this MRO offers a Referral Rewards program to its customers, giving them gifts from Amazon.com, Home Depot, and Sony in exchange for new leads.

This said, Genesis Aviation's success comes from doing what it does well and that is why the company developed its Sky Diamond Centers of Excellence program. "Rather than expanding into areas where we don't have expertise, we form relationships with other MROs who do this work well," said Dale McGlothlin, Genesis Aviation's senior vice president of operations. "We designate these companies as Sky Diamond Centers of Excellence; they help us provide clients with the full range of services they need, without any quality problems or startup issues.

One final nod to Genesis Aviation is the fact that it services Airbus aircraft. Given the challenges many U.S. repair stations face in sourcing repair information from Airbus, this is no small achievement. "Today, about 15 percent of our business comes from Airbus clients," said Lluhi. "We don't foresee a day when Airbus forms the core of our business, but it is important for us to cover this market as well."

Components profile

Facilities: Repair facility/operations headquarters: Greensboro, North Carolina

International sales office (commercial/regional aircraft): Charlotte, North Carolina

Regional aircraft sales office: Dallas, Texas

Total Space: 30,000 square feet

MRO Capabilities: Unlimited ratings on Class I, II, and III accessories: hydraulic, pneumatic, electromechanical, and electrical. Limited rating for avionics.

Certifications/Approvals: FAA/JAA approved unlimited Class I, II, and III repair station.CAA, DGAC pending.

Partnerships: Sky Diamond Centers of Excellence program, with other MRO companies.

Total Staff: 50

Goals: "We have two goals," said Genesis president/chief executive officer Santiago Lluhi. "The first is to expand our worldwide facilities so that we can better serve the Asian market. The second is to form more Sky Diamond Centers of Excellence relationships with other specialized MROs."


TXI Aviation Expanding Offerings

A growing capability in the field of heavy jet specialty maintenance in hydraulic and machine shop services is pushing Dallas-based TXI Aviation to expand its market.

A long-standing relationship with Southwest Airlines has, over the years, provided TXI with expertise not just on the carrier's 400-airplane Boeing 737 fleet, but in Boeing products generally.

It's that familiarity-wrought craftsmanship that TXI is now offering to operators of other 737 and Boeing airplanes.

All this began a few years ago when TXI managers decided to bring machine-shop and hydraulic system repairs fully in-house both because of the volume of work TXI was generating through its corporate aircraft maintenance programs and from a desire to avoid delays related to farming the work out.

As with most relationships, someone at TXI knew someone at Southwest Airlines who was needing a better way of acquiring machine-shop and hydraulic overhaul services, so the someone at TXI said that TXI could help out. It was more from a sense of professional courtesy originally than anything else, and the relationship bloomed.

So, the machine-shop business began to grow. And the hydraulics repair business began to grow right along with it; business within a business, but one that wedged in nicely as part of the overall whole.

"It's been great for us, and working on the 737s-mainly landing gear and hydraulic controls-has fit in nicely," said TXI president Steve Hall. "And you couldn't ask for a better customer than Southwest Airlines.

"We believe there's a good market for TXI in the commercial aviation sector, and with our capabilities here, we also believe that we can offer airline customers better volume pricing than they can obtain elsewhere even by bringing the work in-house."

Volume is key, Hall explained, to TXI keeping pricing for machine work and hydraulics overhauls competitive.

"Southwest farms a lot of that work out to us, and if we can keep the pricing in line for an operator of 400 737s, why wouldn't the operator of 20 737s think we can do the same for him?" Hall asked.

While Hall admits that TXI Aviation cut its teeth on Southwest's 737 fleet, he pointed out that other Boeing components are essentially the same, only sometimes much bigger; a matter of simple scale.

"Boeing has a way of writing its manuals so that if you understand the language Boeing is using in one manual, you'll clearly understand the same language in all of its other manuals," Hall said. "Working on, say, landing gear for one Boeing airplane is much the same as working on any landing gear for any Boeing airplane."

But, Hall was quick to point out that TXI's push for market share isn't just focused on Boeing products.

TXI continues its concentration on maintenance for the Dassault-Falcon, Hawker, and Citation product lines along with a handful of other manufacturers' products, he said.

"We have excellent technicians here that are skilled on just about any airframe that rolls through the door and we're still maintaining our focus on them while at the same time expanding our efforts on the commercial side," Hall said.

"There's a large Learjet fleet out there, and we're willing to gear up to provide increased Learjet maintenance especially if an operator wants to make a fleet commitment," he said. "That's true for any fleet operator regardless of the model.

"Demand for our maintenance services has increased, our capabilities have increased to meet that demand, and we're now looking to expand even further," Hall said. "We certainly have the manpower, the shop capabilities, and proven expertise to meet any operator's requirements."

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