Russia’s S7 Technics hopes to lure European LLCs to its would-be St. Petersburg MRO base

Country’s largest independent MRO provider reveals plans for a fourth major maintenance facility

S7 Technics St. Petersburg MRO base (S7 Technics)

S7 Technics, one of the leading MRO service providers on the Russian market has signed an investment agreement with the administration of St. Petersburg for construction of a new aircraft maintenance base at the city’s Pulkovo airport (IATA code: LED). The signing was officially held at the high-profile St. Petersburg Economic Forum 2021.

S7 Technics is hopeful that the Open Skies regime active at Pulkovo will attract European low-cost carriers (LCC). One of these, Hungarian Wizz Air, announced plans to launch a base in St. Petersburg shortly before the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry.

The provider, which is part of the S7 Group, will invest over 3 billion roubles (US$41 million) into the project of a major maintenance facility with 12,000 square meters of floor space. The first phase of the construction is scheduled to kick off in 2023, with the launch of operations set for 2025. This will be the fourth of S7 Technics’ maintenance centers, with other three located in Moscow, Mineralnye Vody and Novosibirsk.

“There’s a shortage of technical centers for aircraft maintenance in Russia, and even during the pandemic period, we observe high level of demand from Russian airlines,” says S7 Technics’ general director Vladimir Perekrestov. “Once the air travel market recovers, we forecast a steady growth of customers, both in Russia and on the global scale. Certainly, European low-cost carriers, who are planning to fly to St. Petersburg, are among our potential customers, because they don’t have their own maintenance stations. The Open Skies regime at Pulkovo is an additional benefit.”

“For us, a new maintenance center is a comprehensive project, which will foster development of the airport infrastructure, and the aviation industry on the whole. We are planning to invest more than 3 billion roubles of 7 Tehcnics’ own funds, without resorting to external sources,” says Perekrestov.

The maintenance center will develop capabilities across a wide range of services, including base maintenance (up to and including D-check), line maintenance, structural repairs, engineering, modifications under EASA Part 21J and production of cabin interior parts under EASA Part 21G, and component repairs under EASA Part 147). Staff training (under local FAP-289) is also on the list.

S7 Technics has been approved to provide maintenance on Russia’s advanced MC-21 medium-haul airliner. One of the type’s largest operators-to-be and its launch customer is Pukovo-based Rossiya Airlines, part of Aeroflot Group.

“The new center is the fourth for S7 Technics, enabling us to secure our leadership position on both western- and Russian-built aircraft maintenance market in Russia and the wider CIS. It will be capable of handling all generations of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft, as well as Superjet 100 and MC-21. The target is between 35 and 40 heavy maintenance checks (C- and D-Checks) and some 200 A-Checks per year,” Vladimir Perekrestov reveals.

According to preliminary assessments, establishing the facility will create some 400 new jobs. In line with the project’s roadmap, 2021 and 2022 will be dedicated to documentation approval and architectural design. Actual construction is to start in 2023. The maintenance center is expected to become fully operational by 2025.

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