Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year, ABS Jets has been on a continual growth trajectory in Business Aviation and today offers comprehensive MRO and CAMO capabilities among other services. Rebecca Applegarth spoke with the Czech Republic-based company
Since launching 15 years ago, Czech Republic-based ABS Jets has gradually expanded its capabilities to become a fully functional one-stop-shop. Looking back at its inception, Jan Králík, Chief Operating Officer, reflects, “The initial idea was to offer a full range of services allowing aircraft owners to enjoy the convenience of one company taking care of their aircraft.”
The company has worked hard to bring that vision to life. “It is a huge benefit for aircraft owners to receive A-Z care under one roof”, Králík notes. Today, ABS Jets looks back over a very successful 15 years.
Sébastien Albouy, Chief Technical Officer, ABS Jets worked with Embraer for 17 years, spending the last 10 years as general manager of the Paris Le Bourget service center. He joined ABS Jets earlier this year.
Offering a range of services, from jet charter and management, to aircraft brokerage services, to trip planning, ABS Jets also has a large MRO wing, and is an Embraer Authorized Service Centre, focused on the Legacy 600/650 and Phenom 100/300. Moreover, due to fleet expansion, the company’s maintenance capability has extended to the Gulfstream G550 and G650 and Helicopters EC120 and ACH145.
“We’re honored to partner with Embraer, Honeywell and many other great aviation companies,” comments Sébastien Albouy. “The fact that Honeywell has authorized ABS Jets as its avionics dealer has allowed us to offer very reasonable prices to our customers.”
Lowering the costs for customers is of great importance for ABS Jets. “Leveraging the statistics gathered over the years, for instance, we have extended some of our work tasks to lower the costs of unscheduled maintenance events,” Albouy continues. “While this creates a higher workload, we find that our aircraft are perfectly reliable with extended lifetime and minimum of AOG situations.
“It is, therefore, of paramount importance for us to be alert and search aircraft thoroughly, looking for even the small-scale defects and possible defect causes. Should minor defects or signs of corrosion be found, we are then able to rectify them immediately, thus preventing the spread of corrosion.
“This saves further costs and increased downtime later for the operator. By operating this way, our aircraft maintenance staff certainly recognise a well-maintained aircraft which, ultimately, results in slower depreciation of the asset.”
“We have supported the Embraer Legacy 600/650, Gulfstream G550 and G650 during various AOG situations,” Albouy adds. “We have built a highly skillful mobile team of technicians and assisted 48 AOG situations since the beginning of 2019. As many as 98% of cases were solved within two days of us receiving the AOG notification which we’re very proud of.”
Indeed, over the past 11 years ABS Jets has accommodated 28 C-Checks, 20 2C-Checks and 8 3C-Checks. Consequently, the hangars are fully occupied for much of the time.
Expanding Knowledge, Expanding Services
With over 200 employees, almost 50 are dedicated base- and line-maintenance technicians. “We believe that hard work, transparent communication together with long-term expertise leads to the high client retention rate ABS Jets currently enjoys,” Albouy notes.
As many as 50% of the employees at ABS Jets have been with the company for more than 10 years, which means a wealth of knowledge and understanding has accrued – and this is reflected in how the company is able to continually expand its service offerings.
Last year ABS Jets implemented ‘The Critical Chain Project Management’ (CCPM) into its working environment, which it reports has shown significant results. The goal of CCPM project is to perform a scheduled inspection in a shorter time, to manage the workload involved, and to reduce the costs to the aircraft owners or operators – all while increasing profit margins for the charter providers.
“By implementing the CCPM,” Albouy reflects, “we have been able to significantly shorten aircraft downtime during maintenance, which is appreciated by both charter operators and aircraft owners.
CAMO & MRO, Working Hand-in-Hand
Another string to the bow of ABS Jets is its authorization as a CAMO organization. CAMO – or Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization.
Stanislav Kučera, Continuing Airworthiness Manager at ABS Jets has amassed a wealth of experience since beginning his career with Aero Vodochody where he was a quality inspector on the Sikorsky S76 program. He joined ABS Jets when it was still newly formed and has performed several roles prior to being tasked with building the Continuing Airworthiness Department.
Naturally a close relationship is needed between the CAMO and MRO wings of the company, as Kučera confirms: “ABS Jets CAMO specialist are in a very close contact with MRO staff. We depend on that relationship to gather the necessary data directly from the hangar, whether it relates to base maintenance or line maintenance.
“Our CAMO staff can physically see the systems and troubleshooting in ABS Jets hangars, so we know how long it takes to access to some areas, or how many technicians are necessary to perform the job.
“Meanwhile,” he adds, “we can gather necessary information about the aircraft’s system reliability and modify the maintenance program to minimize the chance of an unexpected AOG in the field.”
Offering an example, Kučera highlights a time his team found the same faulty ‘BLEED LEAK’ message coming up on aircraft aged six years and older as the cause of several AOG situations. “On several occasions our technicians found loose tie-wraps on the sleeves of bleed line connections. As a result of that discovery, we’ve established a Bleed System Ducts pneumatic adjustment/test as a matter of course, at interval of two years along with the replacement of bleed lines ‘O’-rings every four years.”
How did the CAMO team determine the necessary intervals? “We essentially based them on the nearest suitable inspection,” Kučera explains. “We needed to consider when would the area be open for other maintenance work in order to lower the costs for the owner.”
Fifteen Years of Development
While reliability and customer satisfaction have been central to the aims of ABS Jets since the start, looking back over its fifteen years of operations the company has seen some significant developments within the Business Aviation industry. “In our region, the development has been significant,” Králík reveals.
“There was literally almost nobody in the Czech Republic operating business jets when we started. The customer base was small. People have since learned how to use and benefit from Business Aviation, bringing more operators to the market.
“On a personal level, while competitors abound today within the market, ABS Jets continues to keep its leading position here. The rise in competition has only served to hone our focus on delivering the very best quality and service that we can.”
Albouy sees the market’s evolution mainly through the lens of a stronger emphasis on customer satisfaction, aircraft availability and reliability. “From the aircraft OEM’s side, building and consolidating relationship of trust with service providers that offer expertise and excellence has been key to success,” he observes.
“That’s certainly been the case for the successful and privileged relationship between ABS Jets and Embraer since 2007. We’ve been working tirelessly to secure the highest level of customer satisfaction through quality work and genuine relationship.”
So how have the industry changes been reflected in the way the company has developed its service offerings over time? “From being just an operator at the beginning, we have developed into something that can truly be called one-stop-shop,” Králík concludes.