Moscow Vnukovo-based aircraft maintenance specialist VARZ-400 is priming to provide greater support for a wide-range of western-built aviation equipment.

Last year the plant received certificates from the manufacturers to perform various technical services for the Boeing 757, 737 and Airbus A320 family aircraft.

“In particular, we got approval to carry out C-checks on the 737 models and have already begun doing that,” says VARZ director Alexey Chenyshev.

Following certification, the plant concluded agreements with domestic carriers Atlant-Soyuz, SkyExpress, Aeroflot-Don and Aeroflot-Nord to maintain a total of 25 737s in their fleets.

Chernyshev says it will make similar arrangements with Russian operators of A319/320s ahead of receiving permission from Airbus to perform heavy maintenance on its narrow-body aircraft this year.

Apart from developing the required in-house engineering capability, VARZ has set up a substation to provide transit and line maintenance services for foreign aircraft at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport.

Work is also in full swing on establishing a joint venture with Safran Group’s Snecma Moteurs to maintain CFM56 engines.

“Under the plan, this year we should introduce a designated facility complete with a test-bed,” says Chernyshev. “It will enable us to repair and check engines with a thrust of up to 20t.”

Given that Vnukovo is emerging as a fixed operation base for a growing number of business jet operators, VARZ has promptly gained licenses from Bombardier to maintain Global Express and Challenger executive aircraft.  

Chernyshev adds that VARZ is in talks with a number of foreign suppliers of ancillary aviation equipment with a view to catering to it in Russia.

“Our goal is to be among top five MRO providers in Europe by 2010,” he concludes. “We’re optimistic of achieving it.”

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news