Helvetic sets up in-house line maintenance unit

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Swiss regional carrier Helvetic Airways has established line maintenance operations for its Fokker 100 fleet at its base in Zurich.

Line maintenance and aircraft-on-ground support for the six regional jets was previously provided by SR Technics.

Helvetic decided to bring the work in-house as this offered more operational flexibility, the carrier said.

The company has taken on around 35 technicians and has leased space within a SR Technics hangar at Zurich airport, which can accommodate two aircraft and has ramp space for a third.

This will be used for all maintenance tasks up to C-checks.

Base maintenance will continue to be provided by Austrian Technik's Fokker 70/100 facility in Bratislava, Slovakia.

As the hangar lease agreement gives no access to SR Technics' workshops, the airline will need to subcontract some tasks, such as battery and oxygen bottle maintenance, to external specialists.

Earlier this month Helvetic signed a flight hour-based maintenance contract for auxiliary power units and brakes with Fokker Services.

An airline spokesman said that initially the main focus is to support the airline's own fleet. Providing line maintenance for another Fokker 70/100 operator could be an option in future but would only be done at a "small" level.

He added that Helvetic does not intend to become a full third-party maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider.

SR Technics said that while Fokker 70/100 aircraft no longer play a central role in its service portfolio, the company continues to support the regional jets.