Many MRO companies in Eastern Europe are trying to expand through niche service offerings, as their labor arbitrage advantage disappears and aftermarket competition accelerates from the Middle East.

Examples include Aeroplex of Central Europe, based in Budapest, which survived after Malev’s collapse and is taking on special projects such as aircraft skin replacement and winglet installations, which do not require big capital investments, says Gyula Pasztor, sales manager for Eastern markets. The MRO also just installed the Row 44 satellite-based broadband internet on 46 aircraft, each of which required five to six days.

LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services—the only Embraer service center in the region—refreshed an E-190 interior with slimmer seats, a re-worked galley and bulkheads, carpeting and electrical work during a C-check, which incorporated two service bulletins, says Pawel Gontarcyk, a board member for the MRO.

FL Technics, one of the most successful MROs in Eastern Europe, recognized that the bankruptcy of Lithuanian Airlines four years ago would force it to innovate, pursue next-gen aircraft services and provide a higher level of customer satisfaction, says CEO Jonas Butautis.

While the loss of the airline’s base maintenance definitely initially hurt FL Technics, the company recognized “we’re only as good as our last C-check,” Butautis says. It now has an array of line and base maintenance services, as well as component, logistics, engineering and leasing services. FL Technics also provides technical training.

Earlier in May, the company signed a component stock agreement with XTRA Aerospace in the U.S. to consign Boeing 737NG and Classic parts in Vilnius, which will speed the delivery of these parts within Eastern Europe and the CIS.