"Our basic trim package is actually quite luxurious with leather chairs and a veneer; however, the veneers are more simple with a straight grain and countertops are Corian®. At the high end are the burls, the fancy inlaid marble countertops, and calveskin leathers and those kinds of exotic items."
Right now, B/E is promising a 14-week lead time for a finished interior kit. This gives the customer time to select the colors, quality of leather, veneer, etc. These selections are available within the pricing matrix. "We basically give the customer a price range for finish materials and they can stay within that range or exceed it at their own expense. In terms of finishing materials, we can pretty much use anything that the customer wants without affecting the STC."
Kay continues, "We are going to have pretty much all of the components ready for assembly during that 14-week time. The interior will be in the jig approximately 8 weeks. Six weeks is the lead time for ordering materials, building cabinets and seats and so-forth."
Kay says that the owner of the aircraft can realize significant savings and come out with a very nice looking interior.
"Principally, the way it works out is the actual package costs a bit more than if you did a low-end custom refurb and replaced everything in the interior. However, when you calculate the savings resulting from the reduction of downtime (only 6 weeks is needed for installation on a Challenger versus 18 to 24 weeks in a custom shop) you will find that you realize significant savings. Additionally, the lead time will be longer with a custom shop. Lead time can be up to 16 weeks for a custom job, where it is 14 weeks for our kit. We have figured that we can save the operator of the aircraft 20 to 30 percent on costs and the refurb is performed at a third of the downtime or less.
"For the completion center, they can simply turn more interiors through their shop and increase their profits. They can do four in the same amount of time that they could do one - and they don't need a full completion crew of 23 or 24 people!" Instead, they can perform the installation with 12 people. The margins aren't as great for each job, but they improve with the number of them they do."
"Probably the biggest factor," says Murray, "is the completion center significantly reduces their risk. If anything in the interior breaks, it's covered under B/E's warranty."
Managing a Successful Refurbishment Project
A successful refurbishment project requires:
• Pursuing the highest regulatory compliance
• Managing the project during the job
A successful refurbishment project requires planning in the beginning. Many potential problems can be avoided by answering as many questions as possible in the beginning of the job. The Chief of Maintenance must build consensus internally and with the refurbishment center. This consists of:
• Clearly defining the budget
• Clearly defining the work scope
• Clearly defining the available timeframe
Corporate operators must be realistic in the amount of money that will be required for a high-quality interior refurbishment. Talking with other corporate operators who have just completed refurbishment projects, as well as getting bids from refurbishment centers, can establish a benchmark. Further, make sure the refurbishment centers are addressing all the issues and using the same pricing parameters. You do not want to be lured in with a low bid that will be increased later because of extra charges. The project budget should also include funds for change orders during the job. Used aircraft will have hidden damage that should be repaired during the refurbishment project. Also, as the design plans become a reality, there will be changes that require extra funds.
The work scope must also be clearly defined. This first requires internal consensus in the organization. As many maintenance managers know, it is very common for differing opinions to emerge as to how a corporate interior should be refurbished; however, once the job is priced, a clear and concise work scope must emerge. Then, this work scope must be articulated to the refurbishment center. Issues that must be addressed include:
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