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“We are hopeful there is a good window coming of opportunity,” in the VVIP completions market but that is dependent on being competitive, Joe Bonita, Citadel Completions, told CJI Global delegates. “Quite frankly, it’s a tough market right now.”
MD of the Lake Charles, Louisiana-based one-stop-shop for VVIP business jets said although the VVIP completions market has slowed with the delay of Boeing’s 737 Max project, there has been “a lot” of dialogue with interested parties leaving Bonita hopeful of a window of opportunity for an uptick in business. However, he added a caveat: “We are also understanding that everybody out there is looking at that same window, so we’ve gotta be competitive and at the end of the day, we’ve got to produce a high quality product.”
Citadel completions is just two years old; Bonita jokes it was just him and a laptop back in 2018 and no business plan could have forecast a global pandemic. Nevertheless, Citadel Completions is weathering the Covid-19 storm by honing its offering to the industry.
“For us there is a heavy focus on engineering throughout the process. We have conversations with OEMs about applying similar processes, which focus on speeding up the job without sacrificing any of the quality. There is excitement to be working with a different centre, we’ve not had a negative reaction with anybody… so overall it has been a receptive welcome from the industry,” said Bonita.
Citadel focuses primarily on narrow and wide body Boeing and Airbus VVIP interior completions, however there is some scope for corporate conversion operations, according to Bonita. Citadel also offers full scope MRO on the same aircraft. “We want to be a one-stop-shop for all the maintenance needs, all the modification needs, interior, [and] we’ve even got a company on the field that does aircraft paint and can paint to the VVIP level. So, when you come to Lake Charles, we can do it all for you.”