As the business of business aircraft increasingly becomes global, aircraft manufacturers are finding that customers demand longer-range airplanes capable of transoceanic flight to and from shorter runways. And that means aircraft embark on longer trips and are away from home base for longer periods. As a result, airplane makers are aggressively expanding remote service networks. Cessna said this week that it's substantially expanding its service capabilities in Europe, for example, where it has almost 900 Citations operating. At the NBAA convention in Orlando, Mark Paolucci, Cessna's VP for customer service, said the company has just approved a plan to build a new service center in Spain, with completion planned for 2010.
Meanwhile, it's also expanding service centers in the U.S., India and the United Kingdom, and it reports good customer response to its innovative mobile service unit introduced a year ago. The mobile service unit consists of a large straight truck specially fitted with parts, tools and jigs for conducting major maintenance away from an airplane's home base. The truck has diagnostic equipment aboard and even an onboard crane for replacing engines in the field. There are currently four MSUs operating in the U.S., and four more are planned for 2009, Cessna said this week.