Magdy el Sirgany, founder of AECO Aircraft Engines & Components...

Magdy el Sirgany, founder of AECO Aircraft Engines & Components Corp. in Hicksville. He holds a centrifugal impeller, an aircraft engine part. (Sept. 12, 2013). Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Magdy El Sirgany, founder and managing director at AECO Aircraft Engines & Components Corp. in Hicksville, built his business on the fact that all aircraft engines have a life cycle, and most must be serviced after an average 6,000 hours of flying time.

After a childhood in Egypt and study in London to become an aeronautical engineer, he worked for Aero Support, Rolls-Royce and Taba Airlines, where he began noticing the engine maintenance invoices and started planning his business.

"I saw how I could save airlines money and still make a reasonable profit if I were to do this by myself," said El Sirgany.

He got his start by selling his two apartments in Brazil to buy two used aircraft engines, refurbishing them and reselling them to a Brazilian airline. Now 63, he sells the services of his 20-year-old company by flying around the globe to visit customers whose engines are due for overhaul or repair and taking service orders for Rolls-Royce, Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Honeywell engines. He partners with a larger Indonesian company for engine overhaul.

Does having your business on Long Island give you an advantage?

Yes; [from here you can get to] flights worldwide. Our customers are all over the world. If I want to visit a customer, if any customer has a problem, I can be anywhere in the world in no time.

How much do you travel?

A little bit more than half of the year I'm outside the country visiting customers. That's why on my vacation I stay home and play with my grandkids.

How do you know when a plane engine is due for an overhaul?

It's about preventative maintenance. We try to monitor customers' monthly flying hours. When it gets closer to engine removal, I visit them to make sure we're going to get the engine when they remove it. I visit the customers constantly.

Where do you get your parts?

When you start an airline, you buy the aircraft and you buy a spare engine and you buy spare parts to maintain your operation. So you operate for a few years and then afterwards you upgrade, you change and phase out your fleet. So I come in and I buy the spare parts and surplus material. They're new, they're in their original packaging. Everything has proper certifications. I buy these inventories and I keep them and I sell them to different countries. For example, I buy in the United States, I sell to South America. I buy from South America, I sell in Africa. I buy from Europe, I sell in Asia. Sometimes, for one operator in a certain country, the equipment is no good for them anymore, but in some other place in the world, this is a newer aircraft.

How many engines have you worked on so far this year?

Eighteen. An engine can take 30 days to 120 days to [repair or overhaul]. It's very specialized work. You cannot rush.

Are you hiring?

Yes. We're interviewing a couple of people from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology by LaGuardia Airport. After they graduate, we train them on the engines we service. We're looking for people who are motivated and enjoy what they'll be doing with us.


NAME: Magdy El Sirgany, founder and managing director, AECO Aircraft Engines & Components Corp. in Hicksville.

WHAT IT DOES: Maintenance, repair and overhaul of gas turbine engines; parts supply.

EMPLOYEES: 8 full time; 3 part time.

REVENUE: $4 million

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