Aeroflot Gains Inhouse Widebody C-Check Capability
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest passenger airline by fleet size, will for the first time conduct C-check maintenance of its Boeing 777 widebody in Russia. The eight-year-old 777-300ER became the first aircraft to arrive for maintenance in the new hangar opened by Aeroflot MRO subsidiary A-Technics at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport on April 8.
Aeroflot now operates 19 widebodies of the type, but their heavy maintenance has been previously performed in China by Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services.
Russia’s Federal Agency of Air Transport gave a green light for operations of the 7,250 m2 (approximately 24,000 ft.2) hangar on March 15. The facility was also approved by Bermuda aviation authorities because most of Aeroflot’s western-made fleet is registered there.
According to A-Technics CEO Mikhail Korobovich, the C check of the first 777 will take 32 days and will also include some modifications. The provider plans to perform six C checks for Aeroflot widebodies.
A-Technics also expects to service two 747s from Aerflot subsidiary Rossiya's fleet at the end of the year, Korobovich said. He explained that the provider wants to certify the new hangar with EASA for this purpose, as Rossiya’s fleet is registered mostly in Ireland.
The entry into service of the new hangar enabled A-Technics to launch heavy maintenance of both the 777 and 747 in Sheremetyevo. The provider previously performed this maintenance type at Vnukovo International Airport, but it left it following Rossiya’s move to Sheremetyevo.
The provider has Russian FAP 285, ЕАSA Part 145 and BCAA OTAR Part-145 Option 2 certificates and now operates in Moscow only from Sheremetyevo. It has another hangar there which is used for A checks on 747, 777 and Airbus A350 widebodies, as well as for maintenance of narrowbodies such as the Boeing 737NG, Airbus A320 and Superjet 100.
The Russian-made Superjets will also be serviced in the new hangar, Korobovich promised. It can simultaneously house two such regional jets along with the widebody aircraft.
A-Technics also has a hangar in Orenburg in Southern Russia where it performs heavy maintenance on the 737NG.
Korobovich wants A-Technics to become the sole MRO provider for the Aeroflot group. The company now covers 60-70% of Aeroflot’s maintenance needs, competing with the airline’s own engineering division. It also took all Rossiya’s maintenance in Moscow, but the carrier makes some checks on its second base in St Petersburg. Korobovich also mentioned that A-Technics has recently won the first bidding for maintenance of 737s operated by another Aeroflot subsidiary—low-cost Pobeda.
Although A-Technics has third-party customers in its older facility in Sheremetyevo, Korobovich said that the widebody heavy checks capacity is now reserved only for the Aeroflot’s group needs. The third party customers are likely to be taken there only from 2022.
By that time, the company expects to get approval for heavy checks on the A350, too. Aeroflot received the first aircraft of the type a year ago, so Korobovich expects it to approach its first C check by that time.
Korobovich told Aviation Week that the last year was not as devastating for A-Technics as it was for the Aeroflot group due to COVID-19 flight restrictions. The heaviest fall in workload—up to 30%—happened in April-May 2020 when the Russian airlines had been almost completely grounded due to the nationwide lockdown. Korobovich said he had managed to persuade Aeroflot to fix the aircraft while they were grounded in order to be prepared for flight resumption.