Impact Player: Transportation in Florida
GA Telesis likes its prospects in South Florida
Fort Lauderdale-based GA Telesis is a behind-the-scenes aviation company with a growing impact on how the world flies. In January, CEO Abdol Moabery gave the keynote address at Aviation Week Networks’ Aero-Engines Americas, an engine-focused conference held in Fort Lauderdale.
Owned by its founders, managers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Tokyo Century, GA Telesis employs 600 globally — 350 in Florida and 250 of those in Fort Lauderdale. It has a substantial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business — the bread-andbutter for much of South Florida’s multi-billion-dollar aviation industry — and also leases out commercial aircraft and has a global parts and distribution business.
“Moving these things around the world is an interesting logistical issue they deal with daily,” says Russell McCaffery, dean of Broward College’s transportation programs. GA Telesis has $400 million in revenue and 34 offices and facilities on five continents.
Moabery says low interest rates make it easier for second-tier airlines to buy new planes, putting pressure on the market for used aircraft. Some 44 countries, including some natural markets for used aircraft, have decided the easiest way to regulate safety and quality is to restrict the age of planes, which has trickle-down effects on the value of used aircraft and engines.
Moabery discussed the outlook of the company in South Florida with FLORIDA TREND:
- MRO Industry Prospects: “What I was pointing out in my speech creates a huge opportunity for the South Florida aviation community since so much of it is driven by the aftermarket support and services sector. As long as we can keep employment costs and living costs at reasonable levels in South Florida, the industry will continue to flourish.”
- Where Employees Work: “We have two locations in proximity to (Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.) Our global headquarters along with our component solutions group are based on the south side of the airport, and our composite repair group, which is part of our MRO services business unit, is just west of the airport. Our composite repair group business is where our Broward County-based mechanics work. That business has just under 100 full-time employees of which more than half are mechanics.”
- Hiring Projections: “We are always hiring to keep up with growth. We have great expansion plans for 2018 but have not yet decided if that will be in south Broward or Dade County. This would add approximately 100 more positions in the next 24 months.”
- Labor Issues: “Broward and Dade counties have a robust aviation labor pool and some great schools that provide a constant flow of aviation graduates. We just love it here. South Florida is definitely the world’s commercial aviation hub. Broward College is a great feeder of talent to GA Telesis. There are few colleges so committed to aviation as Broward College. They just do a great job keeping our human capital needs fulfilled.”
- Cost Drivers: “The issue is not real estate for hangars but rather labor costs. There is plenty of room to grow the heavy MRO sector at Opa-Locka as well as Tamiami Airport if needed. The difficulty is with Florida now being the thirdlargest state by population and the world’s 16th-biggest economy. We are growing so rapidly, the cost of living, especially residential real estate is booming, and that is causing higher cost of living for our employees. The problem is that when selling maintenance, we are selling person-hours, and we compete with South America and Asia on labor rates. This is perhaps the most difficult part. We have to stay competitive but also pay a wage that allows our employees to live a reasonable lifestyle.”
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