Air Transport World

Business as usual: Russian aircraft repair/overhaul is relying on Western commercial practices and privatization to come up to international norms.

Russian aircraft repair/overhaul is relying on Western commercial practices and privatization to come up to International norms

In the U.S.S.R., there was no system for the certification of aircraft production factories, maintenance facilities or personnel licensing. None was needed. The state was the buyer financier, producer, operator, trainer and repairer for the entire industry. It set the standards and ensured that they were maintained. Changes were made as they were needed.

It worked quite well in the controlled economy. But the U.S.S.R. is gone and Russia is changing, as are the other former republics. The last three years have been difficult for a country accustomed to a controlled system and unsure about how to find its future.

However, the Air Transport Dept. of the Ministry of Transport has begun to find its way. Its director, Vadim Zamotin, asked each of his deputies for plans to bring the areas of responsibility into line with international norms. Technical Deputy Director Viktor Gorlov was tasked with maintenance, certification of technical equipment and related personnel licensing Gennady Gipitch, chief of the maintenance division, began the work, with the help of already-established contacts in the U.S. FAA and the European JAA. Although the approaches were different, the major objectives of Western maintenance facilities and their regulators were the same as those of the U.S.S.R.--flight safety and operational reliability. Of course, Western facilities are motivated by profit and thus, were much more developed commercially. But in 1994, the government began privatization of the aviaremont (air repair/maintenance) industry, although privatization has resulted only in the government's relinquishing up to 75% of its 100% holding in each company, which passed principally to employees and retirees of the industry.

It has not brought sorely needed new capital to help finance modernization. "That should start to happen with the next stage of privatization," says Sergei Gritsoon, general director/CEO of Donaviaremont, one of the repair factories. "We expect some of the proceeds of the sale of the government's 25% to be added to the company's capital base."

In line with Gipitch's study, the decision was to harmonize certification of maintenance and technical facilities, and to introduce personnel licensing in line with international procedures and consistent with standards established in Soviet days and accepted by the 1994 FAA audit of Russian aviation as being of good quality. …

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