Bombardier looks at building technical centre in Russia

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Bombardier Aerospace appears to be considering setting up a technical centre in Russia to support its growing local customer base.

On 8 February, the Canadian airframer's senior executives Michael McAdoo and Eric Martel visited Kazan in the republic of Tatarstan and discussed the matter with its prime minister Ildar Khalikov.

"They also visited locally-based aircraft maintenance specialist Tulpar Technik," says Azat Khakim, the board chairman of the company's parent Tulpar Group.

"They've assessed this facility from the standpoint of compatibility with Bombardier's standards with a view to opening an authorised centre to serve their aircraft types."

In March, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is to complete an audit of Tulpar Technik. Its interior refurbishment division has already gained certification.

"We're also undergoing an audit by Deutsche Bank in order to obtain funding for our activities at lower interest rates," says Khakim, referring to in-house aircraft leasing arm and charter operator Tulpar Air.

He expects Bombardier to make a decision in principle on opening a technical support centre over the next three months following another reconnaissance trip by its specialists.

By his estimates, there are 87 Bombardier aircraft, including up to 50 business jets, in service with Russian operators. Kazan-based Ak Bars Aero has eight CRJ200s and is to receive seven more this year, while regional carrier RusLine has 17 of the type.

A Bombardier spokesman says the manufacturer "can't comment on commercial discussions", but adds that Bombardier is "exploring options around the world".