2021 for S7 Technics, one of Russia’s leading aircraft MRO provider, was the year of breaking new ground and adding new operations to its capability list. Gradual recovery of Russian airlines’ flight hours translates into increasing volumes of MRO. And whilst line maintenance, including A-checks, the number of which is directly linked to fleet utilization rates, has not yet reached the levels of the pre-crisis 2019, in the base maintenance segment (C-checks) S7 Technics has managed to significantly, almost by 25%, outperform the pre-crisis year – 106 checks compared to 85 in 2019.
Engine repair operations are gaining traction. In 2021 two engine shops – at Domodedovo (Moscow) and Mineralnye Vody – completed works on 60 engines, including restoration of 12 engines. Other contracts included service bulletins on and off wing, engine preservation and boroscopic inspections. This compares to 37 engine MROs in 2019, including 10 restorations.
Amount of work measured in labor hours already in 11 months of this year exceeded the entire 2019 – 2.125 million hours to 1.971 hours, respectively. So by the end of the year the amount of work performed by S7 Technics’ staff surpassed the 2019 levels by 12.5% .
“We have streamlined the types of operations, which were successful in 2020,” explains Nikita Belykh, deputy general director for marketing and sales at S7 Technics. “For instance, riding the wave of high demand for aircraft redelivery checks we have launched a new offer – a full-service support of aircraft return and acceptance procedures – within our engineering center.”
In 2021 the company moved on in building new competences. Among them – obtaining an approval for maintaining Airbus A320neo powered by LEAP-1A engines at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, and it will be extended to Novosibirsk base this year. The company’s capability list has expanded. For instance, the cabin interior repair shop at S7 Technics’ Domodedovo base has added a new facility, specialized in repairs of thermal insulation mats for Embraer aircraft. Opening this new facility enables Russian operators to repair in Russia those components, which earlier had to be purchased and imported from abroad, and thus reduce maintenance costs. Next year the provider will add same services for Airbus aircraft.
Also, S7 Technics’ base in Mineralnye Vody introduced Russia’s first automated facility for manufacturing composite panels for cabin floors and overhead bins for Airbus A320 family aircraft. This new facility enables the company to cut its costs and time. According to company estimates, during C-check anywhere between 30% and 80% of all floor panels are replaced. In redelivery checks this number increases to 60% or even 90%.
Another significant achievement is launch of production of polyurethane foam cushions for aircraft seats. Part of S7 Technics’ base in Mineralnye Vody, this dedicated facility can annually produce cushion kits for up to 40 aircraft, including seats for business and economy class, as well as pilot seats. In combination with the production of seat covers and other seat components, this newest addition has become a logical extension of the company’s competences.
“Now that we have this capability to produce seat cushions and covers in house, as well as baggage and floor panels for aircraft cabins, we are able to maintain aircraft interiors in fully operational condition throughout aircraft operation, as well as restore it to new condition, which is necessary for redelivery of an aircraft to lessor or to the next operator,” Nikita Belykh comments. The company has already won several contracts for aircraft cabin refurbishments.
Based on the moderately positive forecast for gradual air travel market S7 Technics plans to implement its strategic development plans in 2022. One of the highest priority projects is launch of a production facility at Sheremetyevo airport for overhauling CFM56-5B and -7B engines, the most popular engine types in operation of Russian airlines, as well as Honeywell 131-9A/9B APUs.
The new S7 Technics shop provides operators with an opportunity to overhaul their engines in Russia instead of shipping them abroad, thus reducing both the maintenance costs and aircraft downtime.
Work on expansion of production facilities of Novosibirsk maintenance base continues, including construction of a new hangar. The next city to become home to S7 Technics’ maintenance center, the fourth after Moscow, Novosibirsk and Mineralnye Vody – is Saint Petersburg. Investment agreement for its foundation was signed during St. Petersburg Economic Forum in 2021.
In 2022 S7 Technics is counting on further expanding its client base, both in Russia and beyond. This year important work has been done for attracting new customers in the Middle East and Asia. “It is important for us to expand our customer portfolio and bring in foreign companies, to get exposure to new experience and build a reputation as a provider active on the international market and matching the standards of world-class airlines,” Nikita Belykh concludes.
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