EMERALD AEROSPACE IN KANSAS

Emerald Aerospace

The hangars that once housed Boeing in Wichita are being replaced with a fresh face. Emerald Aerospace moved into one of the 200,000 square foot hangars on the old Boeing property back in October. The company’s website states they work on interior completion and specialization of aircraft. They also say they will be able to work on aircraft as big as Boeing 747. It was back in 2011, when Boeing announced it was going to leave Wichita all together. It was a move that affected more than 2,100 workers here locally. By the end of 2013, Boeing military was gone. In December of 2014, the company, Air Capital Flight Line purchased the 413 acre site. Local businessmen Johnny Stevens and Dave Murfin told us back then, they intended for the location to be used for aviation and potentially other office based businesses. Emerald Aerospace now joins Spirit AeroSystems and NIAR as companies that are now outfitted on Boeing’s old property. KSN did speak with officials with Emerald Aerospace who wouldn’t comment on how many new jobs could be coming to the site.

Reported by: Chris Arnold KSN News, April 2016

THE PERFECT STORM

Emerald Aerospace

Rre-calibrating VVIP and Head of State Completions in the U.S.

In my 26 years in the business I’ve seen plenty of new promising completion centers come and go. We all have. There is no infallible formula for succeeding in the large aircraft completions space – but there are some key components that exist in all large centers having stood the test of time.

Emerald Aerospace, LLC is what some are calling “the new kid on the block” and whatever your bent on the marketplace for large completions over the coming years – we can all agree the number of large VVIP projects has dramatically increased over the last decade. Emerald may indeed be the “new kid” but they are far from being the inexperienced ‘Johnny come lately’ we’ve seen on occasions. Top-tier centers that successfully operate in this space all know on thing: It’s a very unique animal, fraught with finicky customers and daunting challenges. In short, it’s a business you have to love. And for the Emerald Team, VVIP aviation is in their blood. Realizing the growth of this sector and therefore the need for a new high-level center on US soil, the core group set about the business of scouring the country – but with a very specific set of criteria.

Workforce, Core Values and Security were at the top of the list. These mandates, according to Larry Pope, company Senior Advisor and Director of Corporate Communications, represent the key ‘success based’ components that can be found in all successful centers, without fail.

When the founders first set sight on the old Boeing facility in Wichita, the team mandates and their value, all began to re-ignite with purpose and vision.

Today with 26 full time employees and the first in a series of large VVIP aircraft ready for input, the evidence of these criteria is everywhere. Let’s first examine geography. Wichita KS is smack in the middle of the Midwest where US values and ethics traditionally run high. It’s also largely considered the birthplace of general and business aviation in the US and it has an incomparable work-force of highly skilled laborers, many of whom were laid off when Boeing made their exit in 2013. The Emerald team with just the 26 individuals as it sits today represents hundreds of years of experience in large aircraft completions and modifications. That experience base is poised to grow exponentially.

But perhaps most notable (and rare) is the level of security that Emerald brings to the party. Few centers anywhere in the world have what Emerald does. First, it’s located adjacent to an active US Air Force base; McConnell – and all the intrinsic security that goes with it – and secondly, because this impressive former Boeing facility was used to build and maintain the American executive fleet known publicly as Air Force One. As such, it possesses one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures. In short Emerald now reigns as one of the most secure centers anywhere in the world – offering its customers uncompromised protection, anonymity and security for their projects – and a workforce that is uniquely qualified to build and install head of State and VVIP interiors.

Seldom does the perfect storm present itself in VVIP aviation – but this seems to be one of those moments. Emerald Aerospace is poised to become one if not “the” premier completion facility in the world – “and the factors that have made it possible” says Mr. Pope “are the ones that ultimately will insure our success. We feel like many of the current paradigms in large VIP completions are dated and inefficient. In that sense, he claims, “our job is to now capitalize on our good fortune in locating this great facility – and redefine some of the processes that will truly raise us above the fray. Our emphatic goal is to provide our customers not only an advanced deliverable, but a smooth ride.”

Emerald Aerospace may be the ‘new kid’ but it’s likely to be the kid that many others will seek to emulate in the coming years.

by: Richard Roseman / Founder
Managing Director: Completion Registry

EMERALD EMPLOYMENT

Emerald Aerospace

Emerald Aerospace plans to employ as many as 700 people in five years.

Emerald Aerospace, which has taken up residence at the Air Capital Flight Line in Wichita, plans to hire between 600 and 700 people in the next five years.

According to a report from Aviation Week, the company has hired 26 people so far.

Most of those, says Emerald chairman and CEO Ahmed Bashir, are The Air Capital Flight line sits on the former Boeing property in southeast Wichita, where Emerald will specialize in VIP VVIP and Head-of- State aircraft interior completion work.former Boeing employees.

According to Bashir, the firm has its first customer, which see it do

completion work on an aircraft for an international head-of- state.

Its space at the Air Capital Flight Line, 200,000 square feet, can accommodate aircraft as large as a 747. Representatives for the company have not responded to WBJ requests for comment.

However, Bashir told Aviation Week that the company plans to grow to annual revenues of between $200 million and $300 million in the next five years, and that both that and the upward of 700 jobs it plans to add could both increase as it expands into work on military aircraft.

Daniel McCoy covers aviation, manufacturing, automotive and Koch Industries.

THE EMERALD SETTING

Emerald Aerospace

JETMODA Magazine It was a bird nest on the ground.

Or — put another way — it was a confluence of events that occurs perhaps once in a generation.

That was the situation in which the principals of Emerald Aerospace found themselves about two years ago.

While the market for generic business aircraft had been flat for years, the demand for VIP and VVIP transport category aircraft had surged during the same time frame. Boeing and Airbus were (and are) cranking out wide-bodied air frames for heads of state and wealthy clientele and enjoy robust backlogs.

But when someone gets out the checkbook for the equivalent of an airborne Rolls-Royce, they’re looking for something more than an AM radio and naugahyde seats on the interior. And that’s where they can hit a brick wall, because there are only so many completion centers in the world with the expertise to transform that naked wide-bodied plane into a flying work of art. Indeed, an expensive aircraft can languish in the queue for months before getting a slot in a completion hangar.

That’s when the bird’s nest appeared on the ground for Ahmed Bashir, Chairman & CEO of Emerald Aerospace. Bashir had been in the completion and aircraft maintenance business for almost two decades, and had been looking for an opportunity to kick-start a new facility to serve this undeserved market. It was in that context that Boeing entered (or rather exited) the picture in Wichita.

Wichita is to aerospace what Las Vegas is to gambling. Beechcraft, Cessna and other OEMs call it home, and Boeing had been there for upwards of seventy years, building hundreds of B-52s along the way. They had long operated a massive military modification center in Wichita at next to McConnell AFB (think Air Force One here), but in 2012 the company decided to consolidate those functions into their San Antonio and Seattle venues. That left them with a massive 400-acre facility of empty hangars and offices, so they put it on the market.

The potential wasn’t lost on the EA management team. Larry Pope, EA’s vice president for business development, said, “Those hangars — in every way — are perfect for the completion business.” Such as, the north hangar alone – a 230,000 nearly 300,000 square-foot monster – has working bays that can accommodate three (count ‘em, three) 747-800s simultaneously. And, yes, that is a big deal. The current worldwide capacity to handle wide bodied custom modifications (like 777s, Airbus A340s, 787s and 747s) is perhaps 14 to 15 slots. With the Wichita facility, Bashir and Pope knew they could create four to five additional slots, thereby increasing worldwide capacity by about a third in a single stroke.

Working with a local real estate developer who acquired the facility from Boeing, Emerald executed a long term lease on the property and set to work to spin their magic, for a facility is just that – an amalgam of bricks and mortar. It’s much like an artist’s studio without the artist. And that’s where the combination of Emerald’s experience and Wichita’s talent pool came together. Drawing on their decades-long contacts throughout the completion industry and tapping into the very deep bench of Wichita’s aerospace infrastructure, they began recruiting the seasoned artisans and technicians who bring a custom interior to life; and by the end of 2016 the company’s projected headcount is estimated to be 500. Besides the other aerospace companies in the area, Emerald will also be able to tap expertise locally at one of the top aviation research centers in the world, the National Institute for Aviation Research, which is associated with the school of engineering at Wichita State University’s renown College of Engineering.

The only thing missing now is the first customer, and a “green” 747-800 should be wheels down at the new Emerald facility in December. Following that there are five more multiple other aircraft in the pipeline, which raises even more challenges. Customers of completion centers tend to be – to put it charitably – somewhat inflexible, and Bashir noted, “It is important to manage their expectations throughout the process. Otherwise it can lead to problems down the line.” Every project is one of a kind with infinite variables, and the customer is often emotionally invested in the outcome — as well as sensitive to security.

Pope pointed out that Emerald possesses the highest level of security of any completion center in the United States. “Other completion centers are located on public access airports. Emerald is housed in a security envelope within a security envelope. The facility itself has a security perimeter, and that is located within the security confines of McConnell Air Force Base. Nobody is going to be there who is not supposed to be there.”

Clearly, this Emerald has found the perfect setting.

Did You Know? The first aircraft to ferry a President was a C-54 Skymaster dubbed the “Sacred Cow.” It transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

Did You Know? Bill Lear, the inventor of the first business jet, also invented the 8-track stereo tape cartridge.

Did You Know? Wichita is home to the longest running aircraft production line in the world. The venerable Beechcraft Bonanza began production in 1947 and has been in continuous production ever since with over 18,000 aircraft built, most of which are still flying today. Some of the original tooling and equipment is still in use.

Did You Know? Modern General Aviation was born in Wichita when Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman all came together to form Travel Air Manufacturing Company in 1925. As the economy deteriorated, Travel Air was merged into Curtiss-Wright and the three pioneers each went on to start companies in Wichita under their own names.

By Payne Harrison
New York Times bestselling author of Storming Intrepid & EUROSTORM