INSIGHT: A-Technics, a family workshop

A-Technics is primarily focused on servicing Aeroflot Group aircraft As of March this year, obtaining the widebody C-check rating remained the MRO provider's priority for 2017 (Leonid Faerberg / Transport-photo.com)

Despite the fact that Moscow-based, Aeroflot-affiliated MRO provider A-Technics has been active on the aircraft maintenance market for more than a year now, the company has not yet unveiled its strategic plans to a wide audience.

Even though the business, located at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, was established back in December 2015, attempts by Russian Aviation Insider to obtain Aeroflot’s approval to visit its provider’s main site have so far been in vain. Aeroflot-Finance LLC, an arm of Russia’s national flag carrier, is the sole proprietor of A-Technics. In March this year it took part in ATO Events’ MRO Russia & CIS 2017 exhibition and conference, thus shedding some light on the subsidiary’s daily endeavours.

IT IS ALL SET NOW

“We are attending this exhibition [MRO Russia & CIS 2017] to help people learn about us, and our display here is proving rather popular among visitors,” an A-Technics representative told Russian Aviation Insider on condition of anonymity. “We are open for cooperation with any company. We received our EASA Part 145 certificate in March 2016 and have been providing our services since then.

“Many air carriers are committed to current long-term contracts and therefore cannot immediately amend their MRO provider strategies. Despite this handicap, our first year of business was quite successful in that we kept our head above water. Now, our competitors and customers are watching us closely. We hope that those carriers which appreciate high quality maintenance, a customer-oriented approach, competitive pricing, and time discipline will now consider us.”

The company’s webpage reveals that its Vnukovo site employs more than 460 engineering specialists at a 13,000-square meter facility, which includes a hangar for two widebodies, and which provides both line and base maintenance checks for Boeing 737/747/777s and Airbus A320s.

A-Technics’ Orenburg branch (Orenburg is some 1,500 km southeast of Moscow) has more than 130 employees and offers Boeing 737 line maintenance services. It has inherited hangars at the local airport with a total floor space of 4,000 sq m from the Orenburg carrier OrenAir, which was integrated into Aeroflot Group in 2016. The hangars can accommodate up to two single-aisle aircraft at a time.

The company extended its Part 145 certificate to include the Orenburg arm in mid-2016. “Now, in terms of the company structure and logistics, we have everything set for seamless work and we can offer a full range of services to all our customers,” the A-Technics’ representative advises. “Our Orenburg-based branch is a nice and large company, with a vast number of specific service divisions, including for replacing tires and brakes. We still have available capacity and are ready to cover some of the logistics-related costs,”

With regard to European Russia, Aeroflot already has maintenance hangars located at Sheremetyevo (Moscow) and Pulkovo (St. Petersburg). However, the A-Technics source says, those existing capacities cover the carrier’s own needs for maintenance services at large. Should A-Technics attract a new large customer, the provider can enlarge its hangar capabilities at Vnukovo: “Transferring any of the Aeroflot and Rossiya Airlines facilities under our control is not an option. We develop our businesses independently, having divided the overall scope of work between the three of us. And we feel pretty comfortable about that. We do not have to snap at anybody’s heels and we cope perfectly with the scope and scale of work that we receive.”

An A-Technics representative spoke to Russian Aviation Insider on condition of anonymity

A-Technics inherited the maintenance base of now-defunct Transaero Airlines’ technical department (Leonid Faerberg / transport-photo.com)

It is worth mentioning that, as of March, A-Technics was not operating a single line maintenance station. “It is not our business,” the source explains. “We can render support in AOG situations at other sites within one-time licenses, but establishing a line maintenance outstation would in itself be subject to a rigorous economic analysis. If there is enough demand for it, we could be ready to go into it; if not, we are unwilling to invest because a line station involves substantial initial expenses.”

CLIENTS

A-Technics’ main objective is to cover the maintenance needs of Vnukovo-based Rossiya Airlines (a wholly-owned Aeroflot’s subsidiary), and the MRO provider makes no secret of this, although it is not ready to share any detailed operational statistics other than that it provides full technical support to the parent airline at Vnukovo, including line maintenance of all of Rossiya’s aircraft types, plus heavy checks on its narrowbodies and more.

Moreover, Aeroflot will now have A-checks on its Boeing 777s performed by A-Technics in Moscow, rather than sending them to China. The provider emphasizes that the carrier has specific reasons for doing so.

“Can you imagine how much it costs to ferry an aircraft to China?” the source goes on. “It substantially increases the total maintenance costs. And, let’s face it, A-checks should be performed at an airline’s base airport. They are relatively minor checks that take two or three days maximum, which means the aircraft does not have to be taken off the flight schedule. So both Aeroflot and A-Technics benefit from this decision: the flag carrier’s aircraft do not get delayed. all technical issues get fixed and, what is more important, the funds stay within Aeroflot Group in Russia.”

As for third-party customers, the new MRO provider has already offered its services to Russian carriers Yakutia and VIM Airlines. Both carriers are complimentary about A-Technics’ service levels. The provider itself stresses, though, that it is also looking into finding new business from customers outside the Aeroflot Group: “We are striving to increase our backlog of third-party orders, but with the Group still being our main priority. Although we are ready to expand our capacities for certain projects, we cannot afford an excessive workforce or floor space. Nevertheless, if airlines have some specific maintenance requests, we will be ready to service their airplanes for them.”

FUTURE PLANS

For the moment, it is unlikely that A-Technics will be looking for other major certification standards in addition to its Part 145. The company source believes there is low demand for airworthiness services under EASA Part M or OTAR 39, while obtaining Part 21 requires substantial investment: “We are a workshop, a Part 145 company, and we do engineering primarily to support the production activity. As for Part 21, MRO providers should not count on these field-specific services. It is more prudent to have contracts with a company that already holds such a certificate and is thus able to fully satisfy customer needs.”

In the short-to-medium term, the MRO provider expects its operational performance figures to double by the end of 2017. However, in 2016 A-Technics managed to reach full capacity only in the second half of the year. “On the whole, we will grow two times but if we compare, for example, December year-on-year, it will be a 10% to 20% growth,” the source says.

By Artyom Korenyako

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