In September 2017 Mineralnye Vody-based aircraft painting facility of Russian independent MRO provider Engineering Holding will celebrate the first three years since its official launch. The company’s profile has proven of high demand – in the high season of 2017 the company expects to load the facility to the full extent of its capacity. S7 Engineering (part of Engineering Holding), which manages the facility, is investing in developing the station’s infrastructure and upgrading its personnel.
LOAD AND COMPETITION
S7 Engineering is currently reconstructing the center and expanding the interior component painting facility to cater for the growing demand for its services. This year the company expects to reach 100% of its capacity calculated for the high season, which for Russian MRO providers is usually the period from October to April.
Back in the fall of 2015 we noted that devaluation of ruble made Russian providers’ offers for aircraft painting more attractive to the country’s carriers. However, stabilization of the national currency did not cause reduction to the Mineralnye Vody facility’s competitiveness, according to its deputy director Danil Naumenko.
“In terms of aircraft painting, the priority for customers is their satisfaction with the quality, with guarantee and with duration of works, not the price,” Naumenko explains. “Our current growth perspectives lie within continuous improvement of painting and reduction of man-hours.”
Engineering is improving the quality of its services primarily through continuous training of its staff. “We always have some type of training going on. Besides the technical training, our specialists have been licensed by Dutch paint manufacturer Akzo Nobel and American PPG Aerospace,” Naumenko says.
The company operates Akzo Nobel’s systems such as Eclipse, Aviox, Aerobase, Base Coat / Clear Coat, MICA, and PPG Aerospace’s CA8000 and Base Coat / Clear Coat.
The painting station’s staff undergo training both in Russia and at international companies.
“Our newest addition was the Base Coat / Clear Coat MICA system, the approval for which was granted after a training at PPG Aerospace’s center in Barcelona,” Naumenko reveals.
In the period which passed since the end of last peak season in April this year, Engineering’s painting team has painted 20 aircraft, double on the same period last year. Within 2016-2017 season aircraft operated by Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Zoom Air, Air Astana and Rossiya received their new liveries in Mineralnye Vody.
A special contract during this period stemmed from Rossiya Airlines, which ordered 12 of its aircraft – seven Airbus A320 family and five Boeing 737-800s to be painted into its new brand livery. The aircraft were painted using Base Coat / Clear Coat system from PPG Aerospace (for Boeings) and Akzo Nobel (for Airbuses).
According to Danil Naumenko the contract with Rossiya was an interesting experience for Engineering’s team, because it required removing the old paint and painting the new livery in a short amount of time.
“To speed up the process and improve quality we had to revise our usual approach to forming working shifts. Qualification of our staff improved noticeably in all areas, from preparing the aircraft for painting to applying plackards and rectifying defects,” the manager says.
The last aircraft under this contract, an Airbus A319 was redelivered to Rossiya in the end of April.
Rossiya assessed the painting work as satisfactory, Naumenko says. “We received a tremendous experience of applying a very complicated livery, and our staff raised qualification in terms of operating Base Coat / Clear Coat system by PPG Aerospace and Akzo Nobel.”
Rossiya used a standard OEM-approved acceptance procedure for its aircraft. All aircraft were accepted with grades from “good” in the beginning to “very good” and “excellent” by the tome the contract was completed.
By Artyom Korenyako
Russian Aviation Insider
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