KYIV, Nov 8 - Ukraine International Airlines announced plans last week to begin performing heavy maintenance on its fleet of Boeing jets at the company’s base at Kyiv’s Boryspil airport.
UIA Senior Vice President Yuri Miroshnikov says the company will invest $100,000 to equip and certify technicians to perform heavy “1‑C” overhauls on the one Boeing 737 aircraft it owns and the four it leases.
Doing the work in house is expected to save the company about $1.5 million annually, a 20 percent savings over having contractors perform the work. The airline has been sending equipment to Hungary and Great Britain, where the work was contracted out.
AeroSvit, the other Ukrainian airline equipped with Boeing jets, has its aircraft serviced abroad.
“We are technically capable of performing this type of maintenance,” Miroshnikov said. “The first two planes are to be serviced this year as part of the training and certification process.”
Once UIA technicians are fully certified, the airline hopes to market their maintenance services to other airlines. Miroshnikov hopes that AeroSvit, Air Kazakstan, Belarusian Airlines and Western airlines looking for less expensive maintenance options utilizing cheaper labor will turn to UIA for service on their Boeing aircraft.
“Our goal is to save company money and help support the local workforce instead of paying more to get the job done abroad,” he added.
UIA traces its roots back to 1992, when three foreign airlines – Austrian Airlines, Swissair and Irish Ginnes Peat Aviation – pumped fresh cash into the newly created government company in return for a 30 percent stake. The Ukrainian government retains a 70 percent stake in the airline.
UIA flies to London, Amsterdam and other cities more than 85 times per week.
UIA’s primary local competitor, AeroSvit, flies from Kyiv’s Boryspil airport around 70 times per week.
Ukraine’s airlines remain small players compared to Western airlines like British Airways, which has a fleet of hundreds of planes making thousands of flights each week.
Miroshnikov says that the company has experienced off‑ and on‑again profits, but that revenues have steadily grown to almost $60 million.