Nikolay Savitskikh, Kazan Aviation Plant: ‘The task is to lend the aviation sector a hand at the most critical moment’

An exclusive interview with Director of the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant Nikolay Savitskikh with Realnoe Vremya

Western sanctions on Russia in the termination of supplies of spare parts for planes have provided the reverse effect — the country has started to restore its aviation industry, experts note. Supporting the Russian aviation sector and providing uninterrupted passenger flights at this crisis point is the main task for the Kazan Aviation Plant the government of the country tasked with increasing Tu-215 plane production. “We have energy and possibilities for this, moreover, we still have tasks of implementing military programmes. The plant is provided with job and load in the long term,” noted Director of the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant — a branch of Tupolev PJSC — Nikolay Savitskikh noted in an exclusive interview with Realnoe Vremya.

To support uninterrupted passenger flights

Mr Savitskikh, the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant has remained the core of the strategic aviation division of Rostec’s United Aircraft Engineering Corporation for many years. Even through the plant is designed to make Tu-160 and its new version Tu-160M, nowadays the enterprise has been given a new responsible task — to provide the aviation sector with a fleet of Russian Tu-125 plans. Can you tell us how this decision was made and what it means for the enterprise?

For us, this decision means an exponential increase of the passenger version of Tu-214 plane to use in commercial airlines. I will remind our audience that the Kazan plant has never stopped producing these planes. Mass production was set up here, the whole production cycle was created. It means that the production doesn’t need to be launched again, we are talking about the ramp-up of the production and expansion of the series.

The task of the Tu-214 is to lend the aviation sector a hand, support uninterrupted passenger flights at the critical moment. Therefore we are augmenting the production of these planes now. We have energy and possibilities for this.

At the same time, we still have tasks of implementing military programmes. The plant is provided with work and load in the long term.

KAP to make first planes in 2023

Head of the United Aircraft Engineering Corporation Yury Slyusar announced the production of 20 Tu-214 planes in spring. Has their production begun? When will the first planes be made?

There was made a decision to expand the mass production of Tu-214 planes up to 10 planes a year. We will really launch the production of a lot of 20 planes in the next few years together with our partners in the cooperation. The decisions on this were made.

Now the production of new planes has already started. The first plane of this lot is being assembled on the slipway. Parts for further planes are made in the shops. The production envisages the delivery of the first planes in 2023.

What reconstruction did the enterprise have to do in the plant because of the resumption of the Tu-214 production?

As far as you know, a large-scale production modernisation programme has been done at the Kazan Aviation Plant in the last few years. It includes the reconstruction and modernisation of production capacities, update of machine tools. This programme is still underway. All the infrastructure of the plant will be used to expand the production of civil planes too. Now we have a task — to provide the rise in the throughput of the final assembly and increase the plane output, this is why we will use new production capacities, purchase additional equipment, create new jobs and hire workers.

This April, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin claimed that “gaining independence from foreign materials and components, which eliminates critical risks” was key for the Russian aviation industry. How is the cooperation with Russian aviation electronics and equipment in production going?

The Tu-214 plane had an insignificant amount of foreign components and materials. We work with suppliers in every issue. The country has the necessary competencies. Agreements are signed on long-term serial cooperation.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

“We need to attract about 700 people only this year”

Does the plant have a shortage of staff because of the great workload? How many additional jobs were created?

To implement the new production programme and increase the production of new planes, we need engineers and technicians and production labour. We need to attract about 700 people only this year. The Kazan Aviation Plant is obviously becoming one of most inviting employers in the republic.

We offer our workers a good social package. It includes medical insurance, a housing programme, compensations and financial assistance in different situation.

For instance, we have different options of solution to the housing problem for our workers. It is a flat rented by the company, compensation for flat rent and halls of residence. Also, our workers can participate in the republican social mortgage programme on preferential terms.

There are different social benefits for family members. For example, compensation for kindergarten fee for the kid, tours to health resorts, children’s summer camps.

Sports areas, gyms were created to make sure the workers have something to do in the enterprise. We have our own artists too: a dance band, choir, a music band, a Club of the Funny and Inventive team.

What do you do to attract young specialists, for career guidance?

The work on attracting future young specialists is done in all the areas. It is the constant cooperation with colleges and universities. We admit school graduates to study in the project Rostec Wings, recruit students to study in specialised educational institutions — Kazan National Research and Technological University, the Dementyev Kazan Aviation and Technical College.

We need to attract about 700 people only this year. Photo:

Our HR specialists participate in the organisation of meetings with college and university students, organise internship for students of Tatarstan and neighbouring regions in the enterprise. We will wait for all these lads who have already been trained, who are familiar with the plant in our factory.

Airspace Technologies, Modern Materials and Equipment aviation forum was held in Kazan. What do you think of it and the participation of the Gorbunov plant in it?

The aviation forum is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Tupolev PJSC design bureau, the 95th anniversary of the creation of the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant. The plant, of course, was represented at the exposition of Tupolev, which can easily be called the biggest at the forum this year. Here visitors could get acquainted with the models of our planes.

The aviation holiday I Choose the Sky! on Saturday became a bright final of the business programme. Traditionally, Tu planes also participated in the air show. While Tupolev had an exhibition stand at the square near the Cup where everybody could be an aircraft engineer and designer and assemble a virtual plane.

Luiza Ignatyeva