Ukraine International Airlines' CEO wants to expand in-house maintenance.
With three-and-a-half-dozen aircraft, the airline has an in-house maintenance unit, MAUtechnic, to do line maintenance on all its Boeing 737 NGs, 767-300s, 777-200s and Embraer ERJ-190s. MAUtechnic also does most base maintenance on 737 NGs and Embraer ERJ-190s, explains its CEO Mikelsons Algirds. “The base maintenance for 767-300s and 777-200s is outsourced.”
Algirds says “MAUtechnic is expanding the capability list and types of work for maintenance of components constantly, where it is cost-effective and there are enough orders from other Ukrainian operators.”
MAUtechnic had 433 staff as of Aug. 1, including workers at six line stations at major Ukrainian airports. “We are going to increase and open new line maintenance stations in those Ukrainian cities where UIA plans to operate regular flights.” Algirds says. “Also, we hope to launch a large building project for a new maintenance hangar at Boryspil Airport.”
One major challenge is recruiting new maintenance staff. For about the last 10 years, mechanics in the Ukraine have tended to emigrate to Eastern Europe and the Baltic region, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.
Algirds says he also faces special challenges in base maintenance for 767s and 777s due to availability of spares, especially for aircraft interiors. “Usually, delivery needs a long lead time.” And for 777 heavy maintenance, MAUtechnic’s main problem is limited MRO providers in its region. “Nevertheless, we try to find acceptable solutions for heavy maintenance of 777s.”
To deal with recruiting challenges, MAUtechnic created its own Part 147 maintenance training and examination organization to train staff more quickly and at lower cost. “Almost all necessary training for future maintenance staff is done in-house,” Algirds notes. The in-house MRO also cooperates with Ukraine’s aviation educational institutions, for example, the National Aviation University, and with aviation colleges. Cooperation emphasizes practical training for students during university studies before applying jobs at MAUtechnic.