The next time you talk to Mike McCune, AvAir Director of Inventory, imagine him sitting behind the wheel of his 1974 Mach I Ford Mustang driving the quarter mile in 10.70 seconds at 135 mph. Now, that’s fast!
His passion for drag racing began in high school with this first car–a stock 1973 Dodge Duster that he converted and raced at tracks in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. With his next hot rod, a 1965 California Coup Corvette, Mike took first place in his class at the Super Chevy Show at Palm Beach International Raceway in 1985.
AvAir (Chandler, AZ), and Wings Capital PartnersTM (Newport Beach, CA) just announced the rollout of their new joint venture, AvWings, which will acquire mid-to- end of life aircraft, both on- and off-lease, for eventual partout.
AvAir, founded in 2000, is a respected leader in the aviation aftermarket, offering airlines, OEMs, MROs and stockists an extensive array of products and services plus unrivalled, personalized customer service and support. Wings Capital Partners, founded in 2013 by R. Stephen Hannahs and Two Sigma Private Investments, is a boutique aviation investment firm focusing on mid-life commercial jet leasing.
“This partnership adds a tremendous level of predictability to our product
offering,” begins AvAir President Mike Bianco. “In the past it was difficult to predict the products we’d have to support our customers prior to winning a bid. Now, we have much larger financial capability to acquire assets for partout, plus access to a full service leasing company that allows us to acquire on-lease aircraft. As a result, we can now give our customers a more accurate forecast of material coming down the pipeline.”
Reinforcing its position as a global leader in the aviation aftermarket, AvAir recently earned ISO 9001:2008/AS9120A certification, as awarded through the Aircraft Suppliers Association Certification Body (ASACB).
ISO 9001:2008 certification is an international designation assuring airlines, OEMS, MROs and stockists that AvAir meets world-class specifications ensuring the quality, safety and efficiency of its products, services and systems. The AS9120A standard is the stockist /distribution certification recognized world-wide by OEMS, MROs and the commercial aviation industry.
According to Monte Thiesse, AvAir Director of Quality Assurance, the organization went through the certification process to achieve both ISO 9001:2008 and AS9120A certification covering training for purchasing, including accurate part tracing requirements.
“Not only did AvAir undergo the additional audits for the 9120 certification, we completed the certification process in less than six months with zero findings on the final audit,” says Thiesse.
Capping a year of unprecedented growth in their 14-year history, AvAir was recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing privately held companies with a first-time inclusion on Inc.’s prestigious ranking of the nation’s top 5000 businesses.
With a growth of 113% over the past three years, from $18.8 million in 2010 to $40.7 million in 2013, AvAir came in at 3051 out of 5000 companies on the 2014 list, which was released in time for the Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony held in Phoenix from October 15th through the 17th.
In his first year as the president of AvAir, Mike Bianco attributed AvAir’s history-breaking year to the outstanding efforts of his team to proactively reach out and engage new clients while continuing to focus on the basics CEO Bob Ellis founded AvAir on—building integrity into every engagement, delivering customers what they’re promised, and valuing client relationships over profits.
“We’ve got the best products, the best customer service, and the best team in the industry,” says Bianco. “And while making Inc.’s top 5000 list is a milestone, we’re not resting on our laurels by any means. We aim to move up, up, up in next year’s ranking.”
Building on their sponsorship and exhibitor role at MRO Americas in their hometown of Phoenix this past spring, AvAir is expanding their international profile as a sponsor and exhibitor (booth number 1702) at MRO Europe, held at IFEMA in Madrid from October 7th – 9th, 2014.
With the European market showing healthy recovery signs, growth is again on the horizon. Having already supported a similar rebounding economy in the U.S., AvAir is in a strong position to engage European airlines with contractual support and distribution agreements that allow the airlines to capitalize on the latest trends in maintenance and inventory strategies.
In addition, AvAir’s vast capital expansion is driving their aggressive approach to aircraft acquisition, which in turn is opening up new levels of opportunities for their clients—whether a client wants to maximize their return on existing aircraft (including end-of-life-cycle assets) or is looking to gain tax advantages by participating in AvAir’s trusted sell and lease back program.
“Out of the six tracks offered in the conference breakout sessions,” begins AvAir President Mike Bianco, “fully half of these tracks have a direct correlation with the products and services AvAir offers—Supply Chain & Logistics, Financing & Leasing, and Engineering & Maintenance. We get into high level discussions with airline execs on these topics every day because successful execution in these areas is critical to airline profitability. MRO Europe offers a unique opportunity for engagement and we are excited to be there and talk to folks face-to-face.”
With 1600 clients in 60 countries worldwide, and offices in the U.S. Mexico, Russia, and Brazil, AvAir’s clients benefit with a global perspective on the aviation aftermarket while enjoying customized solutions to their specific needs.
Showing its growing economic prowess in the global market, Chandler-based AvAir ranks second on the state’s recipient list from the U.S. Export-Import Bank with $47.4 million in funding assistance to foreign clients since 2007.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank primarily makes credit available to foreign companies to buy U.S. goods. This credit assistance to foreign clients has fueled AvAir’s expansive growth abroad for its aviation aftermarket business. It has also helped create new jobs at the company to meet skyrocketing demands of its goods and services—which, in addition to the buying and selling of aircraft parts, include the development of industry-leading programs for managing and maintaining entire aircraft fleets.
Overall, 117 Arizona businesses have received aid totaling $489 million since 2007, according to a U.S. Export-Import Bank report released in time for bank chairman Fred Hochberg’s recent visit to Arizona. While AvAir received 9.7% of the funding, a far-distant Bio Huma Netics of Gilbert received 5.8% of the total with $28.5 million.
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AvAir’s new flagship headquarters is not the only way the 14-year old company is rising up.
Through the launch of their new brand, created by the marketing firm KODA, AvAir is also raising its corporate profile through dynamic marketing campaigns appearing for the first time in Airline Economics, the England-based international industry publication.
Over a period of eight days, our new flagship headquarters gained a stunning architectural profile as its concrete wall panels, each weighing 60,000 pounds, rose 40 feet into the air above our new 6-acre campus in Chandler, AZ.
“It is really exciting to see the project go from a two dimensional set of plans to a huge building right in front of you,” says AvAir Director of Operations Tyler Botthof. “To put the size of the building into perspective, it’s twice as high and three times as long as the Wright brothers’ first powered airplane flight, which Orville piloted at an altitude of 20 feet and covered a distance of 120 feet before landing.”
Within a span of a couple weeks, AvAir’s new $15 million flagship headquarters took shape across the equivalent of three football fields as 2,500 cubic yards of concrete were poured to lay the foundation for its new 170,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility.
“While we were all familiar with the blueprints of our new design, it wasn’t until we walked the perimeter of the final pour that we truly had an appreciation for just how immense our new facility will be — and we’re pumped!” says AvAir President Mike Bianco.
With international offices in Moscow, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil, the days when AvAir consisted of two employees working out of a tiny rented office in Chandler seems like a lifetime ago for Mike Bianco, president of the aviation aftermarket company he helped launch in 2000.
AvAIr CEO Robert Ellis (right) hired Mike Bianco right out of high school. Bianco has worked his way up to president of the growing airplane aftermarket parts business. Photo Credit: Nick Oza