Avia Prime Eyes Further Expansion After JAT Tehnika CFM56-3 Boost

Avia Prime acquired Serbian engine specialist JAT Tehnika in December 2019.
Credit: JAT Tehnika

Avia Prime Group is looking at further expansions of its MRO interests after doubling down on CFM56-3 capabilities at its Serbia-based JAT Tehnika engine MRO business in the past year.

Poland-based Avia Prime Group acquired JAT Tehnika in December 2019 and added the company to its stable of MROs that also includes Slovenia-based Adria Tehnika and Polish MRO Linetech Aircraft Maintenance.

Piotr Kaczor, CEO of Avia Prime Group, told Aviation Week that following the acquisition, utilization of the engine shop has grown by more than 90%. The company now carries out full engine overhauls on the CFM56-3 at its Belgrade shop, something it was unable to do before receiving the investment from its parent group.

Kaczor says Avia Prime also set about implementing efficiency upgrades across JAT Tehnika following its buyout. Among these moves included ceasing third-party MROs outsourcing their engine shop capabilities to JAT Tehnika. 

Before the acquisition, some European MROs were performing the work at JAT Tehnika under their own brand, he explains. “We ended the partnerships to have all four slots and a dedicated testbed on-demand at all times,” Kaczor says. This move allowed some engine MRO work to be conducted in Serbia rather than in other locations. 

He says that Avia Prime has limited engine capabilities at Ljubljana in Slovenia, where its subsidiary Adria Tehnika undertakes work on CFM56-5 and V2500 engines. The company has also entered the engine leasing market having bought some CFM56-3 engines for teardown and building up its own stock.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic crippling the market and resulting in tough challenges for the engine segment, Kaczor believes the CFM56 market in which Avia Prime operates will prove robust in the long-term. One factor he believes will contribute to this is that retirement rates haven’t turned out as predicted pre-crisis and in the early days of the crisis. 

“Last year in 2020, we performed at least a few checks to prolong the service life of Boeing 737 classic airframes and we see that the market for those older aircraft is still strong and we took an advantage of it,” he says. “We are exclusively providing the support and maintenance the CFM56-3 series, an engine that is now utilized almost exclusively in the slightly more profitable air freighter market. So this is a good time to run an engine shop.”

He adds that it is also looking at the wider market beyond Central and Eastern Europe in locations such as the U.S., Western Europe and Asia-Pacific either through acquisitions, partnerships or capacity expansions through setting up at new facilities. 

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.