Rossiya Concentrates On Airbus Maintenance, Outsources Most Boeing Work

The Russian airline headquartered in St. Petersburg is facing stiff competition from domestic MROs for mechanics.

Russian aviation has developed fast and unevenly, with early commitments often determining the shape of maintenance departments. For example, St. Petersburg-based Rossiya Airlines now flies 29 A320-family jets, but even more Boeing aircraft: 16 737s, ten 777s and nine 747s.

But historically, Rossiya operated more A320-family than Boeings. Therefore, its in-house maintenance has focused on the Airbus jets. During a reorganization of the airline in 2016, managers decided to outsource maintenance of 737-800s, 747-400s and 777-300s when the company began to operate these types.

Nevertheless, Rossiya has expanded line maintenance on Boeing aircraft and opened several line stations for 737-800s. It has also decided to continue expanding the scope of Airbus fleet maintenance.

Last month, the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority approved a program for six-year and 12-year checks on A319s, A320s and A321s, checks with include complex structural tasks. Currently, Rossiya is seeking to increase the number of these six- and 12-year checks it does in-house. Simultaneously, it wants to develop more capabilities for component maintenance and for repairing aircraft structural parts.

At present the airline has about 720 people in maintenance and engineering, excluding its Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization, financial and contract staff. Maintenance done under EASA Part-145 involves 407 employees, of which 224 of them are certifying staff.

Maintenance done in accordance with OTAR [Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements] Part-145 involves 425 employees, of which 227 are certifying. An additional 70 employees work at line stations at Rostov on Don, Adler/Sochi, Koltsovo and Orenberg.

The airline want to expand MRO staff, but this can be challenging. The substantial growth of western-built jets in Russia in recent decades has led to a number of MRO centers for these aircraft in the country. “This has led to the formation of a competitive labor market,” one Rossiya MRO manager says. “Domestic MRO centers, and sometimes foreign ones, are fighting for the opportunity to hire qualified Russian MRO specialists.”

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