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Pilatus is opening up a new completions center at its North American headquarters outside of Denver at Rocky Mountain. Now, airplane completions aren’t what they sound like. It’s when the manufacturer (or a third party, actually) finishes out an already airworthy airplane by adding interior and paint. It’s a big chunk of work and business, so the new Pilatus center is big news. Pilatus opened the center, which has been planned for a few years now because it anticipates growth for its single-engine turboprop PC-12 NG and new PC-24 twin jet (which it calls the “Super Versatile Jet.”) The PC-24 twinjet sells for $8.9 million. Pilatus says it’s the world’s first business jet for use on short unprepared runways, and we’re not going to argue. It’s really cool.
The Broomfield facility is 118,000 square feet and features state-of-the-art fabrication and installation shops, spare parts inventory, and offices. The new center consolidates operations Pilatus has performed at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport for more than two decades. The new interior and exterior completions facility will allow Pilatus to customize its planes for its customers while being, it explains, responsive to market demands in North America. North American markets make up well more than half of Pilatus’ annual sales.
Pilatus, currently one of the largest employers in Central Switzerland, expects to increase employment by 30 percent over the next three years to handle the expected growth of the jet. An additional 25 to 30 jets are expected to move through the Colorado facility each year.
In addition to bringing employment to the Denver area, Pilatus is introducing an apprenticeship program in Broomfield modeled after just such a system in Switzerland. The program combines on-the-job training and formal classroom education and has been a success in Pilatus’ Switzerland location, the company says.