Development of MRO business aviation services in Central Asia

Over the past couple of years, the business aviation market of Central Asian countries, as if awaking from the instability that followed the pandemic and global economic adjustment, has begun to form rapidly, but now with a fundamentally new picture of the customer. The undisputed leaders of this growth are Central Asian countries where the clientele, which enjoy new economic opportunities and international cooperation, want their business activities to be not only profitable, but also comfortable.

In particular, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are becoming the growth drivers shaping what the business aviation market looks like in the region — with modern infrastructure and a mixed fleet of aircraft. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an analyst at a well-known Kazakh bank noted that the annual growth rate in infrastructure projects and aircraft acquisition is about 12-14% and this trend will continue for another 5-7 years. And, if airport infrastructure projects have only just begun to be implemented, airplane and helicopter purchases have been underway for a long time. However, it is very difficult to identify clear preferences for types of aircraft in this region. Business jets and helicopters of every imaginable class are in demand here Ч from the ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 and Bombardier Global 7500 jets, to medium and light class aircraft (Pilatus PC-24 and Cessna Citation CJ). Especially popular are turboprop aircraft, namely the single-engine Pilatus PC-12 NGX (several of these aircraft were delivered to the Kazakhstan market in 2023-2024) and the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 350 Series (several of these aircraft are operated in Kazakhstan, and another one was delivered a neighboring republic in 2023), which are capable of satisfying the regional needs of business aircraft and helicopter operators and government agencies.

If we imagine the typical customer, we generally think of employees of either large businesses operating aircraft exclusively in their corporate interests or public and private companies performing specialized tasks. At the same time, depending on the mission, the customer may choose a specific type of aircraft capable of flying even to airfields with very poor infrastructure. That describes the majority of airports in the region. A similar picture emerges in the helicopter segment, which includes excellent models such as the Leonardo AW139 and Airbus H145. And here's one more detail: the number of users of business aviation services who flew on jets or helicopters for the first time is rapidly growing, which means that a new type of client in the region is sure to become a source of growth for the entire segment. This category includes IT specialists, young successful entrepreneurs and agribusiness owners, as well as government agencies that need to use aviation services to perform special work. All of them are potential future buyers of airplanes and helicopters.

That said, the large influx of aircraft is associated with a major challenge Ч full after-sales service in the region. World experience suggests that, along with the keys, happy owners of new airplanes and helicopters also receive service from the manufacturer as part of the warranty or maintenance service packages. For those who own aftermarket aircraft, the problem of how and where to maintain the aircraft arises immediately after their purchase. As everyone knows, any maintenance work requires in no uncertain terms that the aircraft be present in a certified service center, or in a service center that has been both certified and authorized by the manufacturer. This latter option is preferable, since it involves direct support and fulfillment of warranty obligations from the manufacturer when it comes to full technical support. Currently, the number of maintenance and repair service providers in the region is limited, and there are only a few manufacturer-authorized centers. Creating a full-fledged after-sales service center is a rather lengthy and expensive process. After all, it requires going through a preparatory stage, in which you must acquire suitable production facilities, purchase the necessary tools and equipment, as well as spare parts, and put together a professional and experienced team of engineering and technical personnel. The preparatory stage is followed by the most important stage Ч certification by the aviation authorities and a manufacturer audit Ч and ultimately obtaining recognition and permission to being operations.

BizavNews was able to talk with the Kazakh company Pure Technics and hear about its work. In 2022, the Pure Technics service center opened at Nursultan Nazarbayev Airport and was certified as a maintenance and repair organization by Kazakhstan's aviation authorities for servicing Pilatus PC-12 and PC-24 aircraft, as well as Leonardo AW139 helicopters. Later, the center received recognition (validation) from Uzbekistan's aviation authorities. During the first year of operations, major period maintenance checks were carried out successfully on two PC-24s and two PC-12 NGs. According to company representatives, the main focus was on the after-sales market in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries, making aviation more accessible by providing professional high-quality services at competitive prices.

Initially, the company was created as an authorized service center for servicing aircraft from the Swiss manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft in Kazakhstan. From the very beginning of its operations, Pure Technics has constantly monitored the market and looked for additional growth opportunities. The company has focused on working with manufacturers with a presence in the country, expanding its offerings that allow owners to conduct most maintenance work locally and minimize the cost of sending empty aircraft to Europe for maintenance. For example, Pure Technics has already started working with Textron Aviation Inc., a global market leaders. Since the fall of 2023, Pure Technics has negotiated successfully with this famous US aircraft manufacturer, purchased necessary tools, assembled a team of engineers, and gained access to a pool of spare parts. "We have now passed the preparatory stage and are intensively preparing to expand the scope of our after-sales service center. In addition to the Pilatus aircraft and Leonardo helicopters, the maintenance and repair center's certification will soon also cover Line and Base maintenance of Beechcraft King Air Series aircraft, as well as Airbus H145 (BK117) helicopters," according to the company. Well then, let's wish Pure Technics great success as we look forward to more news.