Another big-scale aircraft maintenance provider emerges in the Baltics
Aviatic MRO is to convert a former Soviet air force base in Lithuania into a major European aircraft maintenance site
Relying on central and eastern Europe’s low-cost yet qualified manpower, and utilising one of the largest military aerodromes in the former Soviet Union, Lithuania’s Aviatic MRO has announced plans to launch what it claims will be “one of the largest aircraft MRO facilities in Europe.”
With growing demand for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in Europe, the company says it will invest €20 million in the project to transform the 23,000-square metre Siauliai International Airport (IATA: SQQ) into a modern MRO facility bringing 1,000 high-skilled aviation technician jobs to the region.
The venture will focus on servicing Airbus A320-family aircraft and Boeing 737CLs and NGs, offering up to and including D-checks, as well as asset management and aircraft storage.
The emergence of the Aviatic MRO project comes hot on the heels of similar recent major developments in central and east Europe’s MRO industry – those of Lithuania’s FL Technics, Estonia’s Magnetic MRO and Avia Prime of the Czech Republic.
Aviatic MRO expects to start offering “minor repair” services as early as the beginning of next year, before becoming fully operational by 2021 following the construction of a new large-size hangar offering a capacity for eight aircraft simultaneously. “All equipment necessary for small-scale aircraft repairs has already been acquired. This means Siauliai can begin taking orders for minor repairs in the next few months,” the company says in a statement. It has also announced its first contract with aircraft management company World Star Aviation, which has nearly 100 aircraft in its portfolio.
According to Aviatic MRO, the new hangar will include a workshop area, storage facilities, a metal structure manufacturing and repair shop, as well as brake repair facilities, painting areas and administration. “Because Siauliai Airport can accommodate up to 30 aircraft simultaneously, more planes can be serviced and maintained simultaneously. Space restrictions limit the number of planes that can be worked on at many European MRO sites,” the company stresses.
Siauliai International Airport is located seven kilometres southeast of Siauliai, Lithuania’s fourth largest city that enjoys well-developed industry, trade and transport sectors. It is in northern Lithuania in the northeast of Europe and is within three-hour flight times of major European hub airports. A large Soviet Air Force base in the past, it offers two parallel runways – 3,500 m and 3,200 m – and has no aircraft type restrictions. Siauliai Airport also claims to be the only airport in the eastern part of the European Union that is not penalised by noise constraints either in the daytime or at night.
Arturas Liudkevicius, the chief executive of Aviatic MRO, enthuses: “Air traffic is growing worldwide and there is more demand than ever for top quality MRO services. Lithuania is an ideal location close to some of the busiest flight hubs in the world.“
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