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Karolis Cepukas

Fast 5: Servicing Ryanair’s Fleet At Its Inhouse Base in Lithuania

Karolis Čepukas, accountable manager for Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance Services, Ryanair’s maintenance base in Lithuania, talks about servicing the Irish carrier’s expanding Boeing 737 fleet, which numbers 455 but is expected to grow to 585 by 2024. He also discusses the interaction between the airline’s bases.

How many aircraft does Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance Services (KAMS) maintain each year and what kind of maintenance is performed?

The number of checks vary each year, depending on the operator’s maintenance program. Last year we completed 50 checks within the scope of two-year and up to 17-year checks. During the seven years of operations, we’ve completed more than 650 various checks for Ryanair’s fleet. For the next year, we are preparing for 35 checks including some end-of-lease checks, which will take place in our facility in Kaunas. 

How does KAMS work with Ryanair’s other maintenance facilities?

There is a very close relationship with all Ryanair’s heavy maintenance bases in Prestwick, Scotland; Wroclaw, Poland; Seville, Spain; and Kaunas. That is achieved while having a group heavy maintenance policy. During the Safety Action Group meetings, the best maintenance practices and any quality issues are highlighted and discussed amongst the bases.

Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance ServicesDo you have enough capacity or would KAMS consider expanding?

Looking from KAMS’s perspective, we have enough capacity. However, looking at the growing demand for maintenance and the growth of Ryanair, we see a huge potential for the development. Our expansion is limited by the availability of a skilled labor force in the region and reasonable terms and conditions from Lithuanian airports.

Given that FL Technics is also located at the airport, does that make it hard to find and retain mechanics?

We see a huge benefit of having experienced manpower and value them the best we can. Since our establishment in Lithuania, we worked closely with all the universities, colleges and professional schools, but that was not enough. We are cooperating with two universities to establish Part 147 maintenance schools, which long term would be our core skilled manpower provider. Establishing these university programs is vital for the industry’s growth in Baltics, Eastern Europe and Russia region.

Is Ryanair considering expanding inhouse maintenance capabilities beyond airframes given its scale?

We work closely with the customer and any requests from the airline are being assessed, and where possible implemented. KAMS has a variety of workshops: C4 (airstairs), C6 (boilers), C15 (oxygen), C20 (composites and sheet metal repairs). Due to the increased component turnaround times, we see a potential to expand this business for an airline in Kaunas.

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