Business & GA

Q&A: Toward A Global MRO

By Jonathan Ray | November 1, 2007
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Paul Soubry Jr. was named in August to head the aviation services companies Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation, which have been merged under the ownership of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) of United Arab Emirates.

Soubry previously was president of Winnipeg, Canada-based Standard Aero, which performs repair and overhaul of Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls Royce, Honeywell and General Electric turbine engines and Honeywell auxiliary power units. With the addition of Landmark Aviation, he now oversees 12 maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Singapore and Australia.

Prior to taking over as Standard Aero president in 2001, Soubry was executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development. In 1995, he served as executive director of the company’s operation in Tilburg, Holland, responsible for integrating the unit into the Standard Aero family.

Soubry responded to a series of questions from Avionics regarding the merger under DAE and the business strategy of the new company.

Q: What are the first steps in the integration of Landmark Aviation and Standard Aero?

A: Since the organization was announced, we’ve worked closely with DAE, to develop a business strategy for the company and announce a leadership team. We are now about 3,900 employees spanning countries and cultures, and offering aircraft operators a wide breadth of aircraft services.

Our immediate goals are to listen to our customers and continue to deliver aircraft services in business aviation, air transport, military, logistics and luxury completions.

We’re additionally focusing our efforts on integrating the company from the employee perspective — meaning we are developing a vision and set of operating values to energize the combined work force.

Q: Where will the combined company be based?

A: The Standard Aero/Landmark Aviation headquarters are in Winnipeg, Canada, on the Standard Aero campus. DAE Engineering, which Standard Aero/Landmark Aviation report to, is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz. Landmark and Standard Aero together operate 12 major facilities located around the world in North America, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia.

Q: What impact will Dubai Aerospace Enterprise have on the combined company’s operations? What benefits and capabilities does DAE bring to the new company?

A: Because DAE is acquisitive by design there will likely be opportunities to grow the Standard Aero/Landmark Aviation business. We’re extremely excited to be part of DAE. Overall, DAE plans to build a global aerospace, manufacturing and services corporation that, in the next 10 years, will become an integral part of the global aerospace industry and a leading player on the world stage. DAE has expertise and relationships that we will draw on and benefit from. Leadership is from top aerospace companies and organizations around the globe.

CEO Bob Johnson led Honeywell Aerospace for several years. Rob Mionis, CEO of DAE Manufacturing and Engineering, was a Honeywell vice president.

DAE is situated in one of the world’s most dynamic regions, and I believe, is ideally positioned to shape the trends that will decide the future of the aerospace industry.

Q: Our sister publication, Aviation Maintenance, conducted an interview with your predecessor, Roger Wolfe, earlier this year in which he emphasized the importance of the Landmark Aviation brand following the combination of Piedmont Hawthorn, Garrett Aviation Services and Associated Air Center. How will the new combination of Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation be branded?

A: We’ve begun early discussions about the brand and signature of the organization and have done some early research in the marketplace. Our perspective is that a strong brand is made up of two key characteristics: awareness and equity. We’re focusing on creating a brand that stands for operational excellence and we know we have the building blocks in place to earn a great reputation with our customers. Right now we’re not ready to announce a new brand but in due course, will share it with you. We want to be sure this is an example of form following function.

Q: Landmark’s completion business, Associated Air Center, will be part of the Standard Aero/Landmark Aviation organization, and Landmark Aviation Airport Services (the FBO business) is being divested. What is the thinking behind these moves?

A: Associated Air Center reports into the new Standard Aero and Landmark business, and will also receive support from DAE.

One of the primary goals of DAE is to build a global MRO business. The company’s core is not in the Airport Services fixed-base operations (FBO) area. So the decision was made early on by DAE to sell the Airport Services business once the acquisition was completed. This is already under way and potential buyers are engaged.

Q: How will the combination of Landmark and Standard Aero impact operations and what changes might customers see?

A: From day one, we continue to prioritize services and our customers at each site. The combination of Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation created a global aviation services network of 12 primary facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Singapore, and Australia, with 14 regionally located service and support centers. Associated Air Center in Dallas and TSS, based in Cincinnati, also contribute to create a full service MRO operation. During the past several weeks, as the combination was finalized, and now as we undertake full integration, each operation continues to put the customer first. It’s our highest priority.

Q: Could you quantify, in terms of revenue or otherwise, how much of the new company’s business involves avionic retrofits?

A: While we don’t like to specifically break out revenue, I can tell you that the new company is a $1.3 billion business.

Q: What areas have the greatest growth potential for the MRO business?

A: Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation today have more than 200 years of combined MRO experience — engines, airframes, avionics, modifications and interiors, and components. We now have a balanced portfolio of products, services and market, and a very global presence, with a parent organization whose operating strategy is to support growth and development.

And we see growth in several areas, including the global markets where aerospace is playing a role in fueling economic development. Also, the MRO micro perspective is such that we anticipate strong growth in each service area. As new systems and technologies come online, demand for our services will remain strong.

Standard Aero/Landmark Aviation to Expand

The newly combined entity of Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation plans to build on existing relationships with OEMs to expand its presence in the business aviation market.

At a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta in September, Rob Mionis, CEO of parent company DAE Engineering and Manufacturing, itself part of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), said the Standard Aero/Landmark combination will look to grow both organically and through acquisitions.

The combined company employs 3,900 people, with annual sales of $1.3 billion.

"As part of DAE, an innovative and growing aerospace company, Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation together form one of the world’s largest independent aircraft services organizations," Mionis said. "The companies offer a broad range of services in diverse locations and intend to continue to grow globally and expand into other service areas."

Mionis said the two companies are well positioned to grow in parallel markets such as large turbofan maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), Very Light Jet MRO, freighter conversions, interiors and completions.

The year-old parent company plans on "holding onto these assets for a very long time," he said.

Standard Aero/Landmark President and CEO Paul Soubry said the combined company is focused on its core MRO business. When the acquisition of the two companies from The Carlyle Group was completed, DAE officials announced plans to divest Landmark Aviation’s fixed-base operator (FBO) business.

Business aviation represents about 45 percent of the combined company’s business, Soubry said. "It’s not just about fixing assets; it’s about managing the assets long-term," he observed.

Standard and Landmark will continue to offer an array of engine, airframe and accessory services across the business, regional and military aircraft sectors.

The company’s Maryville, Tenn., facility has been designated an overhaul center for Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610/615 engines, and will see a $5.5 million expansion, company officials said. The expansion will add new test cell, testing and machine shops. — Emily Feliz

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