I’d like to introduce you to Gutemberg Silva, the new general manager of our factory service center in Sorocaba, Brazil.
It’s fair to say that every Falcon operator in Brazil has a personal relationship with Gutemberg and counts on him and his team for service. Today, Dassault Aviation has the largest business jet fleet in Brazil, and it is hard to escape the conclusion that the close availability of first-class support is a big reason why.
It turns out that the new GM was also the first Dassault Sorocaba employee 15 years ago. In fact, Gutemberg was responsible for finding Dassault an existing facility and bringing it up to our standards, hiring the initial staff, training them and building the service market for Falcons within South America and beyond.
Previously, Gutemberg had been chief of maintenance for a Brazilian 2000 EX EASy operator. In the early days at Sorocaba, he was very hands-on with troubleshooting and repairs within the four-bay facility. As director since 2016, his life has involved more administrative and management duties, and now of course he has sole responsibility for the entire facility. But it says something that many of his early trainees are still there and are now very experienced. The facility has 20 employees in total.
If anyone knows about the development of the Falcon market in Brazil over the last 15 years, it is Gutemberg. He would divide the market into a pre-Sorocaba period and post. Before there was an MRO center, there were 20 Falcons in country, mostly older models. Today there are about 50 Falcons, the majority of them our newest aircraft, including late model 2000-series, 7Xs and 8Xs.
Sorocaba supports them all and has tooling on the way for the 6X, plus training ongoing for technicians.
Before there was a Sorocaba facility, getting parts in Brazil was a problem. Gutemberg and his team have put a lot of focus on strengthening the parts pipeline with a big rotables pool and large consigned inventory from Dassault Falcon Jet on-site, plus reduced importing costs and speedier deliveries.
Maintenance pricing has become much more competitive, says Gutemberg, including on inspections up to the 48-month 7X check, the most intensive performed in Brazil. Even some European customers bring their aircraft there, he notes.
The facility supports Falcons throughout South America, with the Sorocaba team dispatching on short notice all over the region. Once a technician flew to Miami and then back to French Guyana, because that was the only viable airline connection. On another occasion a technician accompanied a 7X all the way home from Uruguay to New Zealand at the request of the customer—that was the center’s farthest field service call and is likely to remain that way, Gutemberg tells me with a laugh.
Normally, it might seem a rather personal question, but I had to ask Gutemberg, is his first name common in Brazil? Not at all, he tells me. His mother named him after the inventor of the movable type printing press, and the first to print the Bible, Johannes Gutenberg.
But wait, that’s spelled with an “N.” Not in Portuguese, where a “B” is always preceded by an “M.”
It’s just one more reason our GM in Sorocaba is unique, while also typifying our general managers and MRO teams around the world who deserve much of the credit for the growth of our global fleet.
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