With the mid-October opening of FlyExclusive’s 48,000-sq-ft maintenance hangar, the fractional and charter provider’s MRO operation encompasses 150,000 sq ft in Kinston, North Carolina. Moreover, the additional space enables the MRO operation to broaden its capabilities and market, seeking to perform work on business aircraft that aren’t part of the company’s fleet of 92 Cessna Citations.
“Being able to expand this facility and have this extra 48,000 sq ft really helped us increase our types of capabilities that we can have access to—larger aircraft types can now come in here. We can now organize, spread out, [and] accommodate more capacity,” Lisa Christine, FlyExclusive senior director of MRO development, told AIN. “Lots of positive things.”
A Part 145 repair station for about a year and a half, FlyExclusive’s MRO can provide inspection, line and heavy maintenance, paint, and modifications, including Garmin G5000 avionics and SmartSky connectivity installations. “We’re working with others to be an authorized dealer,” said Bill Tollison, FlyExclusive’s senior v-p of MRO.
While FlyExclusive’s fleet comprises Citations, Tollison and Christine said the MRO is capable of working on a variety of airframes, noting that it is working on a Bombardier Challenger 601 and a Dassault Falcon 900. Additionally, the company’s MRO workforce over the past few years has grown from a couple of dozen workers to 266 employees.
The addition of a fourth hangar—33,000 sq ft of which is used to house aircraft and perform maintenance with the remaining 15,000 sq ft built out to serve as an interior shop—not only increases FlyExclusive’s fleet maintenance space but allows it to perform work on other jets and turboprops.
“Extra special for us is opening our doors to external clients because that’s something you don’t normally see for a Part 135 MRO, not just [servicing] your own fleet [but] being an MRO for hundreds of different private owners,” Christine said. “Being that 135 charter [operator MRO] and also helping out external clients, it’s just very unique and special.”
The MRO began offering maintenance services to outside clients early this year. Tollison and Christine were brought on by the company in January “to bring our extensive MRO background, everything from heavy maintenance to storage preservation…to bring those processes here and introduce that and build out the division,” Christine explained.
In the company’s push to serve the new group of MRO clientele, FlyExclusive will “send an internal aircraft to another vendor to accommodate the external aircraft,” Tollison said, or push out maintenance on its own aircraft. “In the spirit of wanting to build the business and opening those doors, we are accommodating external clients over our own,” Christine added. “We have that wiggle room and space to accommodate them as they need for their timeline.”
Going forward, the MRO is expecting additional growth from the operation, with plans to add a fifth hangar that will be larger than its most recent structure, Tollison said. “We’re looking not only just to expand our facilities to accommodate more employees but build it out locally in Kinston, provide more jobs here, [and] get folks trained up on special skills for these long-term, sustainable jobs,” Christine added.