ACI Jet is one of Honeywell’s newest channel partners, but the Central California maintenance, repair and overhaul center is already installing its second JetWave satellite communications system at its state-of-the-art San Luis Obispo shop. Its first JetWave installation, on a customer’s Bombardier Global-series jet, was completed in June, using a supplemental type certificate developed with StandardAero.
“The whole process went very smoothly with zero installation issues, and a squawk-free return to service,” said ACI Jet President and CEO Bill Borgsmiller. “We were very impressed with the support we received from Honeywell, and are delighted to be able to provide our customers with an industry-best connectivity solution like the JetWave.”
“After all, fast, reliable, in-flight Wi-Fi is pretty much a requirement these days,” he added. “Business jet passengers want the same Wi-Fi experience in the air they get on the ground. Charter customers are even willing to pay a premium for a smaller aircraft that offers a better-connected experience.”
“Working with JetWave is easy,” said Avionics Team Lead Brian Ford. “It was very simple to install the JetWave hardware, radome and router, and we worked directly with James Lee, Honeywell’s JetWave guru, which gave us added confidence on a first-time installation.”
“The whole process took about seven weeks, while the aircraft was down ten weeks for its major inspection. ACI Jet continues to look for ways to improve the STC process and reduce installation time, with the goal of getting it down to four weeks or less,” Ford said. “We know how important it is to reduce downtime for the business jet operator.”
That’s because ACI Jet is also the operator of a successful air charter service and FBO sites in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Orange County and Oceano, California, as well.
“As managers of a fleet of aircraft ourselves, we also are the customer,” said Dave Jensen, Maintenance Vice President. “We’ve scheduled maintenance with outside vendors and managed aircraft schedules, so we’ve seen the whole process from both sides. We know the impact it can have on a customer’s operation if the MRO team isn’t customer-focused. Maintenance can be confusing. We pride ourselves on having a ‘no surprises’ approach that is realistic and transparent, so that both sides know what to expect.”
ACI Jet has come a long way since Borgsmiller started the company 20 years ago. Today, he employs over 200 people, operates a fleet of 14 aircraft and occupies a world-class maintenance facility in scenic San Luis Obispo, halfway between LA and San Francisco.
“This is a great spot on California’s Central Coast,” he says, sounding like the local chamber of commerce. “The area’s beautiful, the weather’s great year-round, there’s lots to do … there’s not a better place to stay while your aircraft is being serviced.”