Lithuania-based Helisota (Hangar 1, Stand B16) is a long-established provider of integrated maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for rotorcraft. The company is an EASA Part 145 and Part 147 organisation as well as an authorised Mil Helicopters and Robinson R44 service centre, supporting various government and private rotorcraft operators from 25 countries worldwide. Helicopters serviced are the Russian Mil Mi-8T (P, PS), Mi-8MT (Mi-17), Mi-8MTV-1 (Mi-17-1V), Mi-8AMT (Mi-171), and Robinson R44 from the USA.
According to the company’s CEO, Anatolij Legenzov, the increased popularity of Russian-built helicopters has raised the demand for appropriate MRO support. Since 2004, he says, the Russian helicopter industry has grown 3.5 times, with the orderbook of Russian Helicopters at the beginning of 2014 having amounted to 808 machines at a total cost of $12 billion.
“Despite the fact that more and more operators tend to invest in newer and more cost-effective machines,” he emphasises, “sales of the current generation rotorcraft models remain persistently high in Russia and in certain parts of the world. For instance, there are currently about 600 Mil-8/17 helicopters operated in Africa. The fleet in Latin America has also reached an impressive number of 400 aircraft. On both continents, such machines have almost no alternatives, primarily due to tough operating conditions.” Legenzov adds that of the 12,000 helicopters produced in Russia, only 2,800 are operated outside the CIS, making this region the largest market for MRO services.
Russian Helicopters forecasts that it will account for 20 per cent of the global market, and therefore Legenzov says “building an appropriate MRO infrastructure to support its products worldwide is a top priority”. Noticeable progress is being made in addressing this issue.