ST Aero Starts VIP Interiors Business
ST Aerospace (Booth G01) has acquired completion design specialist DRB Aviation of San Antonio, Texas, and on Monday announced plans to enter the VIP cabin interior business. The new subsidiary of the Singaporean group will trade under the name of Aeria Luxury Interiors.
In fact, ST Aerospace already has a presence in Texas in the form of maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider STA San Antonio, and one of its hangars is being converted into a VIP completions center. Among other things, this involves setting up various workshops for cabinetry, upholstery and electrical works.
Ron Soret, Aeria’s general manager of completions, told AIN this should be ready by May 1. “We have already provided several quotations [for cabin outfitting projects] and been shortlisted on two projects,” he said. The new hangar can house aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747-400.
DRB Aviation has previously worked on aircraft ranging from the Learjet 25 to Boeing BBJs and Airbus ACJs. “Sometimes we were responsible for the completion from A to Z, sometimes we just worked on design or certification,” said Don Bell, DRB Aviation president.
Soret believes that many Asian business aviation customers currently flying on conventional size business jets, such as Hawkers or Gulfstreams, will progressively move to big bizliners, such as ACJs and BBJs. In the future, Aeria may also have completion facilities in Asia but Soret estimated it will take “five years or more.”
Separately, ST Aerospace last month received a license to establish an aircraft repair facility in Guangzhou, China. It is a joint venture with Guangdong Airport Management Corp., which has a 51 percent stake. Expected to begin operations in the second half of 2013, it will perform maintenance, repair and overhaul for Airbus, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft.
In ST Aerospace’s new projects, Dr. Yip Yuen Cheong, senior vice president for the company’s engineering and development center, also mentioned the engine leasing joint venture it formed last year with Japan’s Marubeni. Dubbed Total Engine Asset Management, it offers support for CFM56 turbofans for Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, “for now,” he said.