As the number of aircraft being equipped trends upwards avionics experts at both its Peterborough, ON. and St. Louis, MO. facilities are still anticipating a last-minute dash for ADS-B Out equipage as the 1 January 2020 mandate draws closer.
Equipage has already taken place on a wide variety of aircraft including Bombardier Global, Challenger, and Learjet types as well as Dassault Falcon, Embraer Phenom and Citation aircraft. As a Bombardier Authorized Service Facility Flying Colours owns ADS-B Out Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for the Bombardier Challenger 300, 604 and 605 aircraft. These STCs are also validated by EASA and TCCA. Sales of the STCs have ramped up in the last four months with more than 25 sold to other installation companies.
Flying Colours Corp. currently has 10 aircraft at the North American facilities undergoing equipage as part of wider maintenance or avionics upgrade projects, with a further 12 aircraft booked in before the end of the year. Significantly Flying Colours Corp. has seen a rise in demand from mid-to-large cabin owners and operators from corporate and private clients, while the number of small-cabin installations has remained stable.
Kevin Kliethermes, Director of Sales at Flying Colours explains most ADS-B Out installations have been part of a wider aircraft upgrade. “We help owners maximise budget and aircraft downtime by completing a number of different projects in parallel. Work on avionics, interiors, maintenance and paint can all take place in parallel at one of our facilities. For us the 1 January is not the end of the ADS B-Out mandate, but the beginning and we want to help the industry in North America and beyond be prepared for this important airspace management milestone, and the requirements of NextGen still to come.”
“The industry seems to be doing a good job of meeting demand for compliance with a good majority of aircraft now equipped, but we still think there will be a rush to the finish line. We’ve noticed an increased demand from owners and operators who regularly use their aircraft, and recognise they need to make sure they’re ready,” says Kevin Kliethermes, director of sales for Flying Colours Corp. “We can accommodate a few more aircraft this year, but owners need to call quickly so that we can develop a compliance solution for their aircraft in time. If they don’t call us, they must call someone to avoid having their aircraft grounded post-deadline.”
Based at the company headquarters in Peterborough, ON. Graham will be responsible for managing the company’s finances, reviewing near and long-term financial planning, and working with the senior executive team to manage international growth. As Flying Colours continues to undergo rapid expansion Graham will also be responsible for analyzing financial risk and generating commercial processes to support sustainable day to day financial operations of the company. He will report directly to John Gillespie, president and CEO of Flying Colours Corp.
With CFO experience in the energy, waste management, environmental services and most recently ink and pigmentation sectors during a 25-year career, Graham’s experience brings a diverse set of skills which positions him well in a company that continues to expand and diversify. With a global outlook developed working with international corporations Graham is a valuable addition to the team as Flying Colours continues its growth on a worldwide scale.
“I am thrilled to join the dynamic team at Flying Colours,” said Graham. “There are many opportunities that I look forward to exploring with John and developing with the ambitious team. The company’s commitment to provide high quality services to our clients is a strong driving force for the culture here and provides a solid foundation for the ongoing growth. I’m looking forward to supporting that development.”
John Gillespie, president and founder of Flying Colours Corp. said, “As we continue to mark thirty years in business we are looking forward to the next decades. Strong financial understanding and the ability to understand the financial implications of our business growth is essential for success. In Graham we have someone with the capabilities to support the goals of the company. He is a welcome addition to our team.”
Graham holds a degree in accountancy and finance from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He is also a certified chartered professional accountant in the province of Ontario.
Ian Ross, Director of HR for Flying Colours will be participating in the panel An Insider’s Guide to Attracting, Educating and Retaining Top Talent at 10.30am on July 10th to share know-how and offer up suggestions on how to attract and retain talent in the Canadian business aviation sector. With a workforce of more than 300 located at its Peterborough, ON. facility Ross has had extensive practical experience in recruiting, training and retaining its diverse specialised team.
As the privately owned, family run company celebrates its 30th anniversary it continues ambitious expansion plans which rely on further developing its team of technical experts. It began 2019 announcing the construction of its largest hangar yet which will accommodate aircraft up to executive airliner size for maintenance and interiors work. A second dedicated aircraft paint shop, and expanded design suites for customer meetings will complement the expansive facility. Construction is well underway with a summer-end inauguration expected and recruitment for the 100 new roles already in process.
“The majority of our team are Canadian citizens and we continue to build strong networks for recruitment purposes. We are also working with local schools and colleges to encourage students to consider a career in aviation,” said Ross. “However, it is a very challenging and competitive markest as the next generation of workers are attracted by high-tech and digital industries. Thinking laterally is an essential part of recruitment strategy in the current climate.”
Flying Colours will also be exhibiting at CBAA – Booth 200 – showcasing its full range of services across a range of aircraft types including Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, Hawker and Textron models. As an Authorized Service Facility and Completions Center for Bombardier the team is experiencing unprecedented demand for refurbishment and completion projects. ADS B-Out capabilities will also be on show as the mandatory deadline draws close. It will also highlight its special mission capabilities, most recently exemplified by its collaboration with Canadian company Conair Group Inc., as it modifies six production Q400MR aircraft to support multi-purpose missions.
Ross says, “We are pleased to represent the best of Canada locally at CBAA and to share our recruitment experiences and learn from others in this challenging recruitment environment. As we continue to expand and eye further geographical opportunities, we need to continuously source the best colleagues possible to not only support us, but the business aviation sector in general.”
Ahead of EBACE it announced the appointment of its first European Sales Manager, Andrew Pearce, and the creation of a new executive role promoting Paul Dunford to the newly created position of Managing Director, International Operations.
Andrew will, for the first time, join the team during EBACE to promote its full range of MRO services, completions, refurbishment and avionics expertise. As the mandate for ADS-B Out in the North America’s draws close Flying Colours will encourage European owners to begin thinking about the impending European mandate which comes into effect in June 2020. With more than 70 ADS-B Out installations under its belt, it is well positioned to support European owners in meeting the targeted date either as an individual installation, or as part of wider maintenance and avionics upgrade.
The Flying Colours team will also mark the successful momentum of its ambitious international expansion plans as they begin to take shape. The privately owned, family run company began 2019 announcing the addition of a 100,000 squared-feet to its Peterborough, Ontario facility. As a Bombardier ASF, and authorized completion centre Flying Colours is experiencing unprecedented demand for its high-quality work. The construction of its largest hangar yet will accommodate aircraft up to executive airliner size for maintenance and interiors work. A second dedicated aircraft paint shop, and expanded design suites for customer meetings will complement the expansive facility. Construction is well under way with a summer-end inauguration expected.
Complementing the expansion at Peterborough, in January Flying Colours’ St. Louis, MO. facility moved into a fifth hangar at the Spirit of St. Louis airport to support the growing demand for heavy maintenance on Bombardier Global aircraft as well as other types. This is in addition to the opening of 40,000 squared feet, state-of-the-art-cabinetry facility which manufactured its first monuments in 2018.
The team are also be celebrating confirmation of the renewal of its agreement with Bombardier to support its full interiors service at the Bombardier Seletar facility which further cements the strengthening relationship between the two companies.
“We are pleased to be celebrating thirty years of business here at EBACE. It’s an even bigger celebration now that we have Andrew working with us, and we are delighted that he’s joined the team. We know he will add value to our existing customers in Europe and spread the word to potential new ones. Europe is a growing market for us, and we are looking forward to strengthening our presence here,” said Sean Gillespie, Executive VP, Flying Colours Corp.
Flying Colours plans to mark its thirtieth year with further internal and external events with customers, partners and its growing in-house team to demonstrate its gratitude to those that have worked and supported the business through the years.
Photo Caption: Rendering of Global Express refurbishment undertaken at the Flying Colours Corp. Singapore facility.
The new positions reflect the company’s commitment to strengthening its international presence and support its appetite for global expansion. Dunford joined the company in 2014 as General Manager of Flying Colours Corp. Asia PTE Ltd, where he was responsible for launching the company’s Singapore operation. As Managing Director, International Operations, Dunford’s key focus will be developing new international operations and overseeing the Singapore operation’s continued evolution.
In this high-level business development role, Dunford will report to Eric Gillespie, Executive Vice President, who says, “The business has been in expansion phase for the past twelve months as we want to position our company from a global, rather than local, perspective. We are extremely pleased he is taking on the challenge of developing international business. Paul has done great things for our Singapore operations, and I’m confident he’ll continue to add value for our international customers, our team and our business in general.”
Dunford will work with newly appointed Singapore General Manager, Too Hin Wee to continue developing the company’s Asian presence. “This role can influence the future of Flying Colours and I’m excited by the tremendous opportunity to help take it to the next level,” says Dunford.
Andrew Pearce’s newly created role of European Sales Manager represents the company’s first formal European presence in its 30-year history. Pearce will be responsible for seeking out sales opportunities for Flying Colours across Europe and more specifically identifying, developing and managing a new client network. Reporting into Kevin Kliethermes, Director of Sales, Pearce will mirror the North American sales and marketing operations in Europe. Initial targeting will be focused on heavy inspections and refurbishment of Bombardier, Gulfstream, and Dassault aircraft.
Pearce brings 35-years of international experience in the MRO, completions and aircraft sales-sector having worked with Canadian, Middle Eastern and European business aviation entities. Significantly, his experience working with the Bombardier family of aircraft for more than a decade positions him well to deliver results from the highly-competitive European market.
“Europe is an important region for us but we know it takes time to establish relationships, and to truly succeed, we wanted existing and future customers to have a local manager to engage with. We are excited by the possibilities and know that Andrew will add real value to the business,” said Gillespie. Pearce will join the Flying Colours team on the EBACE – Booth Y107 – during 21 – 23 May 2019.
The renewed relationship between the two Canadian companies confirms that Flying Colours will continue delivering the full-service interiors offering, including preliminary inspections, repair work, modifications and refurbishments, to complement Bombardier’s comprehensive line and heavy maintenance services.
With the ratification of the agreement, Flying Colours Corp. is now developing its own expansion strategy in order to best align with Bombardier’s growth in Asia. Initial plans include extending the workshop area which will double the existing footprint, the addition of two more climate-controlled spray booths, and an increase in workforce capacity. With the new Bombardier facilities expected to be operational in 2020, Flying Colours Corp. is scheduling growth to meet the anticipated rise in demand at this time.
Flying Colours Corp. already works closely with the Bombardier Singapore team to conduct interiors refurbishments and repairs in parallel with maintenance work. Business demand is also being stimulated by the rise of pre-owned purchases in the Asian market, which can result in the need for small repair projects through to complete interior overhauls, a service Flying Colours Corp. supports at the Seletar site. The reduced downtime through provision of the high-quality interiors work conducted in the region is valued by owners and operators.
“Our interior workload is expected to rise with the addition of the larger MRO hangar, exterior paint facility, and workshops that Bombardier is adding. We’ve invested significantly in training, tooling and developing a state-of-the-art interiors facility to mirror the quality and skills available at our North American facilities. We are pleased to have extended our agreement for a further five years,” said Eric Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours Corp.
Photo Caption: Rendering of Global Express refurbishment undertaken at the Flying Colours Corp. Singapore facility.
As General Manager for Flying Colours Corp PTE., Singapore-born Hin Wee is responsible for providing overall leadership, overseeing daily operational standards, as well as determining vision and direction for the future. With the expansion of the Bombardier Aerospace Seletar facility, and the subsequent announcement of the renewal of Flying Colours contract to provide interior services, Hin Wee will also be responsible for increasing the Singapore team numbers in alignment with the OEM’s growth. Wee is well positioned to take up the role. He brings some twenty years of aviation technical and maintenance experience, extensive knowledge of Bombardier Challenger and Global programmes, and significant aviation project management experience to the business.
“We will be working with Bombardier for at least the next five years which means we have to grow our team and operational capacity. Hin Wee’s experience with Bombardier, the product and the customers makes him a valuable addition as we enter the next phase of expansion here in Asia,” said Eric Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours. “Asia has always been an important region for our company, and we are pleased to have developed a fantastic team here. With the planned facility expansion and the knowledge that many of the Bombardier fleet is coming up for 90- and 120-month checks, we anticipate we have a very busy time ahead and are confident that with Hin Wee at the helm we will continue to meet partner and customer expectations.”
Hin Wee adds, “It is an exciting time for business aviation in Asia as the sector continues to advance. I’m looking forward to working with the Flying Colours senior executive team to develop successful strategy, implement new efficiencies and execute our business objectives for the region.”
Flying Colours will be attending ABACE – booth A639 – to meet customers, potential new clients and promote its presence in the region. Housed in the Bombardier Aerospace Singapore Service Centre, the Flying Colours facility became fully operational in early 2015 and has built a strong reputation for high quality standards. The business offers a complete range of interiors services including preliminary interior inspections, interior removals and installation, interior repair work, interior modification work and interior refurbishment work. The full-service interior offering complements Bombardier’s comprehensive line and heavy maintenance services at the same facility.
More than 230 people sent resumes prior to the event, and of those 50 face-to-face interviews were held with pre-screened candidates. An additional 110 walk-in candidates attended and met with human resource and technical professionals to discuss opportunities.
Existing employees explained their roles, management responded to specific company questions and the HR team accepted resumes and organized interviews. “We’re optimistic that we found some great candidates and will be working over the next week or two to make offers to some of those interviewed,” says Ian Ross, director of human resources, Flying Colours Corp. “It was obvious from the look of surprise on some of the faces that they were impressed by the scale of our operation here and our capabilities in terms of program quality and complexity. As well as finding some great new talent I think we clarified to many just what we do. With a Global business aircraft on display, we also showcased the diversity of skills it takes to complete and maintain such a machine. It was an extremely successful event and we anticipate we’ll hold more here in Canada, as well as in the USA over the next year.”
A combination of existing and new roles were highlighted as the business plans to fill in excess of 50 openings in its paint, avionics, maintenance, interiors, cabin installation and upholstery departments by the mid-summer.
Debbie Amman, senior vice president finance and administration was acknowledged for working with Flying Colours President John Gillespie for more than 40 years, as was Tony Barrett senior vice president technical services, who has worked with John for 37 years. Both were present to witness the company evolution to a full MRO, interiors and modification business in 1989.
Achieving his AME license in 1985 Barrett became Flying Colours Director of Maintenance in 1988 and has experienced the company’s development from a single hangar and a small team, as he progressed from AME to DOM to VP Maintenance. As the size of the aircraft increased from Pipers and Beech 99s through to Bombardier Challenger types up to Bombardier CRJ size, so Barrett’s career progressed to where as Senior Vice President he is supporting the company’s ambition to be a team of 500 by the end of the year. “It has been a tremendous journey for me personally and professionally over the decades at Flying Colours. The opportunity to join as an AME and develop a career path through to senior VP at the same business is a rare one. It is an honour to have worked here for so long. I’m still excited to see what the future brings for Flying Colours as it continues its exponential growth,” said Barrett.
At the celebration, Flying Colours provided a catered lunch for employees and honoured 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year employees. In all, 111 employees from operations, production, engineering paintwork, maintenance, administration and management groups celebrated a milestone anniversary and received a customized plaque. The ceremony was preceded by a town hall-type discussion where employees were encouraged to ask questions of senior leadership; a hallmark of Flying Colours commitment to transparent management.
“We’re proud that we’ve created a culture where employees are valued and where they choose to stay. We’re fortunate to be in a growth mode right now and we’re looking for additional people to join our work family, especially skilled craftspeople and aircraft technicians. We’re confident that once they join our team, we’ll one day be celebrating their service anniversaries, too,” says Sean Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours Corp.
Photo Caption: Tony Barrett, one of a 111 long term employees celebrated by Flying Colours
A combination of existing and new roles will be highlighted during the two-day showcase. The business is hoping to fill in excess of 50 openings in its paint, avionics, maintenance, interiors, cabin installation and upholstery departments by the mid-summer, and is using the recruitment event as a platform to showcase the types of roles on offer, the dynamic work environment and the career opportunities the business presents. Many of the new roles are being created to support the addition of a new paint and maintenance hangar, which when finished will add a further 100,000 squared feet to the Peterborough facility. Existing employees will be on hand to explain their roles, management will respond to specific company questions and the HR team will be accepting resumes and organizing interviews. Flying Colours specializes in the custom completion and maintenance of mid to large size business jets. Every project is unique and requires the talents and skilled labour of a variety of technicians and artisans to perform detailed, hand-crafted work.
“We’re looking for additional people to join our work family as we continue to expand. We’re interested in everyone from recent grads who want the opportunity to work towards their license to seasoned professionals, skilled craftspeople and aircraft technicians,” says Sean Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours Corp. “Many people in other industries might not realize that their skills are transferable, which is why we’re holding this event. People working in electrical, carpentry, sheet metal and upholstery trades who want to use their talents in an atmosphere where they are valued should definitely attend.”
Participants will be able view a business aircraft and learn about how working at Flying Colours provides the opportunity to earn a good wage, excellent benefits and enjoy career progression while performing interesting and varied work. Flying Colours has operations in the U.S. and Asia as well, and employees interested in international opportunities may have the opportunity to transfer. Further recruitment events are planned for the U.S. facility too.
The event will be held Friday 22 March from 5 pm to 8 pm and Saturday 23 March from 10 am to 4 pm. Human resource and technical professionals will be on hand to meet prospects and discuss opportunities. To preschedule an interview, resumes can be sent in advance to HR@flyingcolourscorp.com with FCCN Careers in the subject line.
Since inception the privately owned, family run company has grown the business from a small hangar dedicated to painting turbo-props and small jets at Peterborough Airport to an international company known for its strong maintenance capabilities, creative cabin-interior design resulting in functional, yet stylish completions, refurbishments including Flying Colours branded CRJ ExecLiner, avionics expertise and ability to handle complex special mission projects. Led by the core philosophies of Flexibility, integrity and innovation, once the smallest business at the airport it is now the largest airport tenant and is currently expanding its head quarter’s footprint with the addition of a fourth hangar measuring more than 100, 000 squared feet.
A second base was established in 2009 when Flying Colours purchased JetCorp Technical services in St. Louis, which became Flying Colours KSUS in 2013. The facility expanded rapidly and now consists of a 40,000 squared feet state-of-the-art dedicated cabinetry and interiors facility along with a further 60,000 squared feet of hangars, the most recent of which opened its doors for business in January this year. With the opening of a Singapore interiors division at the Bombardier Seletar Airport facility in 2015 Flying Colours became truly international. A growing Asia Pacific- based team provides a range of services from interior touch-ups to complete refurbishments for Bombardier aircraft based in the region. Today a global team, which is anticipated to exceed more than 500 employees by year-end, delivers an extensive selection of dedicated business aviation services.
“It’s a well-known fact that the business aviation sector is a competitive and challenging industry to succeed in, and we are extremely proud to be marking our thirtieth anniversary this year. In some ways it feels like we are just getting started as we still have a lot of exciting plans to implement over the next decades,” said John Gillespie, Founder and President. “It goes without saying we would not have got to where we are without the support of our elite set of customers who value the fact we can deliver even the most complex project, our reliable long-term partners, and most importantly our highly motivated and skilled technical teams. As the years progress this is set to continue to grow,” said Gillespie.
Flying Colours plans to mark its thirtieth year with internal and external events with customers, partners and its growing in-house team to demonstrate its gratitude to those that have worked and supported the business through the years.
Flying Colours took over the hangar lease in December 2018. Since then the local team has been outfitting the building, installing new state-of-the-art tooling and supplementary maintenance equipment as well as revamping the office décor. The completed facility accommodates up to three parallel large-jet maintenance, avionics upgrades and interior projects at once. It is initially expecting to support heavy maintenance work and two Bombardier Global aircraft are already in-situ for 120-month heavy maintenance checks.
A recruitment drive is ramping up to source more than 50 extra maintenance engineers, technicians and administrative support personnel, bringing the St. Louis workforce to more than 200 in total.
The addition of the fifth hangar runs in parallel to the beginning of construction at Flying Colours’ Peterborough, Ontario headquarters of a fourth hangar which will be large enough to manage completions, refurbishment, maintenance and paint work in a new dedicated paint shop for Bombardier and Gulfstream large jet types, as well as executive airliners.
“Our business continues to grow as we build our reputation for maintenance, refurbishments and completion projects on time and on budget. Our customers also value the fact we can run interiors and maintenance simultaneously, so reducing down time. We were turning work away in St Louis so it’s great to have the hangar ready and open for operations,” says Sean Gillespie, Executive VP Flying Colours Corp. The addition of the St. Louis hangar, and the building of new workshops in Peterborough, represent Flying Colours ongoing expansion plans driven by growth in customer demand.