Earlier this year IAI reorganized its commercial aircraft activities under the newly established Civil Aviation Organization that coordinates the activities of the company’s Commercial Aircraft Group and its Engineering Group, operating in both the civilian and defense fields. “Civil aviation today accounts for about 30% of IAI's activities,” corporate VP, commercial aviation Gadi Cohen said. Heading the new organization, he expects civilian operations to increase in the future, reaching the level of IAI’s defense business.

“Coordinating IAI's civil aviation activities on a company-wide basis will allow us to build and develop an efficient, unified strategy and make the most of the potential synergies between the groups," Cohen said. “We intend to streamline our operations and reduce overhead costs and duplication,” he added. IAI also plans to introduce new products, particularly at the low-end of the civil aviation market.

The company has invested in expanding its manufacturing lines, especially in the field of composite materials, supporting orders from Boeing for a number of aero structures for the 777 and 787. Cohen is also optimistic about obtaining sub-contracts from other manufacturers, particularly from Airbus, to which IAI has offered aero-structure elements made of composites as cost-effective alternatives to parts currently made of aluminum.

IAI is one of a handful of companies capable of designing and certifying commercial aircraft to FAR25 standards. It began with the acquisition of Commodore Jet in the 1960s, and continued with the design, development and manufacturing of over 1,000 aircraft, including the original Jet Commander 1123, and its later derivatives, the Astra and Galaxy business jets.

Today IAI produces two variants of the Gulfstream line – the G150 midsize, and the G280 super midsize, which was the first aircraft the company developed under a cooperation agreement signed with Gulfstream in 2001. Development took about six years, followed by two years for certification – well below average for the industry. Cohen attributes this short cycle achievement to the highly experienced and motivated design, testing and air operations teams, the availability of advanced design and simulation capabilities, and the efficient data processing of simulation and test flights.

Since type certification in late 2012 IAI has delivered more than 70 G280s, maintaining an annual production rate of 50. For the future the company is considering expansion of its design and manufacturing capacities to include a smaller “entry level” business jet which would be able to carry six passengers over a distance of 1,300 nmi.

"By establishing the Civil Aviation organization, we have created a center of knowledge and excellence that concentrates IAI's extensive experience in these areas,” Cohen summarizes.