‘Regional aviation is not so vulnerable’: UVT Aero airline to import spare parts from neighbouring countries
An avia expert predicts that the Tatarstan carrier may face problems with aircraft maintenance
UVT Aero airline, Tatarstan, is going to import spare parts from its Canadian Bombardier aircraft in neighbouring countries. The press service of the air carrier reported that they are considering different options, but there are no concrete solutions at the moment. All this is happening against the background of the reduction by S7 Airlines of the autumn-winter schedule by 10-15% due to difficulties with the maintenance of the Airbus A320/A321peo. In a conversation with Realnoe Vremya, aviation expert Roman Gusarov predicted that UVT Aero may face the same problems as S7, but they will not be so global. Whether one should expect a reduction in flights from other airlines and how this situation will affect passenger traffic — read the material of the publication.
S7 is not going to take the aircraft out of service forever
According to Kommersant, S7 Airlines is going to reduce the autumn-winter schedule by 10-15% compared to last year due to difficulties with servicing the Airbus A320 /A321peo. Today, the company does not fly and is servicing about 20% of the fleet, including 13 of the 39 neo. The problem lies in the repair of American P&W engines, which are not repaired in the Russian Federation or in Iran. There are 103 aircraft in the carrier's fleet, of which 21 (20% of the fleet) do not fly today, according to Flightradar24.
As the aviation expert and editor-in-chief of Avia.ru portal Roman Gusarov explained to Realnoe Vremya, the situation that happened in S7 is not going to happen to other Russian airlines. The federal carrier got into this situation due to that it operates Western-made liners of the latest generation in its fleet. They are equipped with new engines that are not serviced in Russia.
“Therefore, the operation of this part of the aircraft for the winter will be suspended in order to save the resource. They will not be decommissioned forever, and in order not to expire, it was decided to save them. The current situation concerns only S7, because there are no planes with such engines in other airlines. And if there are, then these are literally units, all other aircraft are serviced promptly. Planes fly intensively. This year, we have an increase in passenger traffic of 5 million people. This is more than last year," Gusarov commented.
“Aircraft maintenance takes place on the basis of UVT Aero”
Against the background of the current situation, Realnoe Vremya asked the Tatarstan airline UVT Aero if they faced the same problems. As it turned out, the carrier is already solving issues with the supply of new spare parts, but from neighbouring countries.
UVT Aero recalled that today their fleet consists of seven Canadian Bombardier CRJ 200 aircraft, one Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft, and two Bell-429 helicopters. The airline's base airports are Kazan International Airport and Bugulma Airport.
“In general, the sanctions have not affected the maintenance of the company's aircraft, since aircraft maintenance takes place at the UVT Aero base by our specialists. The airline created its own maintenance base in each of the airports of Tatarstan (Kazan, Bugulma, Begishevo). We are looking for solutions for the supply of aircraft spare parts. Currently, work is underway to establish new supplies with neighbouring countries," the company's press service told the publication.
However, as Roman Gusarov noted, with regional-class aircraft like Bombardier, the same situation may develop as with S7 aircraft, especially with Canadian models. And regional airlines, such as UVT Aero, may well abandon them.
“In Kamchatka, they refused to operate Czech aircraft. But this is regional aviation. It's not that vulnerable. This is not long-haul transportation. Their passenger traffic is relatively small, and in principle, there is still something to replace the parts with. And there will be a process of import substitution," the aviation expert concluded.
From Bombardier — to Tu-214
Meanwhile, UVT Aero is already waiting for deliveries of Tu-214 aircraft from the Kazan Aircraft Factory by 2025. The fleet will be replenished gradually. However, the air carrier did not specify exactly how many planes will be purchased.
“UVT Aero is working on the idea of combining the work of regional (CRJ 200) and medium-haul (Tu-214) aircraft into a single system. The 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 200 brings passengers from nearby regions to the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, and from there they would be taken away by medium-haul liners to distant destinations. The declared range of Tu-214 for the company is 6,5 thousand kilometres," the airline told Realnoe Vremya.
They added that both regional and international transportation will be carried out on Tu-214. As Roman Gusarov explained earlier, UVT Aero needs to do a lot of work before buying planes, because this is a new type of aircraft for them.
“They don't have such planes now. They use junior class planes. They will have to take a serious approach to using Tu-214. This includes the training of pilots, especially given that there is a three-member crew on the plane, it is not easy, because in Russia they do not even train flight engineers anymore. Probably, it will be necessary to learn from the experience of Red Wings airline, which until recently operated the Tu-204 aircraft, which is a related Tu-214 aircraft. It is clear that they are of different modifications, but in fact, they are one model. By the way, the first Tu-214 will go to Red Wings, as far as I understand. This is done because they have already flown the Tu-204 and they have experience using aircraft of this family," Gusarov explained.