US aviation services provider AAR is considering setting up a technical support centre in Ulyanovsk, Russia, to take advantage of local fast-track clearance rules.

The tentative two-phase plan envisions initially building a 10,000m² (107,640ft) warehouse and then an aircraft maintenance facility at a cost of $20 million.

The project is intended to be part of an industrial cluster adjacent to Ulyanovsk-based airframer Aviastar and covering Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport.

Referring to special regulations governing this area, AAR chief David Storch says: "There are simplified registration and utility hook-up procedures. From that base, we could start doing business in Russia quickly."

Last year, AAR was in talks with Russian maintenance services specialist VARZ-400 about establishing a joint venture on its premises at Moscow Vnukovo Airport.

"We had several meetings with them but did not achieve any agreements," says Storch. "The Moscow market is attractive for us but we don't want to be tied to one partner."

Chicago-based investment consultancy Tur Partners, which specialises in infrastructure and urban development projects, is acting as an advisor for AAR's planned venture at Ulyanovsk.

Local residents in the special economic zone include Volga-Dnepr Technics and Lithuania's FL Technics.

FL Technics parent Avia Solutions Group has dismissed competition fears. "It's a growing market with a lot of work for all," says its chairman Gediminas Ziemelis. "We only fear that we could face a shortage of skilled personnel there."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news