Russian airline to create 100 jobs at Shannon airport facility


RUSSIA’S SECOND biggest airline Transaero expects to create about 100 new jobs at its newly acquired aircraft maintenance business in Shannon in the next 12 months.

It has also held talks with Shannon airport about possibly routing flights from Russia to the US through the Co Clare facility, where its passengers could clear customs and border protection.

Commenting on the potential for additional jobs in an interview with The Irish Times on Friday in Shannon, Alex Krinichanskiy, Transaero’s chief executive said: “I would think about another 100 over the next year. That’s the close horizon and then who knows how many more.”

The Shannon business, now called Transaero Engineering, has already hired 16 apprentices, almost double the level of 2011.

Transaero recently acquired Air Atlanta Aero Engineering, which has 241 staff and was set up in 1962.

Mr Krinichanskiy said the potential existed for a “multi-million-dollar” investment in the facility, which is located beside the airport in the Shannon free zone. He said it has held preliminary talks with state agencies Shannon Development and the IDA about investing in its facility here.

“We are spending close to $70 million a year globally on heavy maintenance,” he explained. “We are going to be spending a big chunk of that here [now]. The question is do you want the rest?

“If you want us to spend that money here, let’s figure out how to do it together.”

Mr Krinichanskiy said Transaero’s first priority was to return the Irish business to the black. It made a loss of about €700,000 last year while its turnover fell by 14 per cent to €19 million.

“For the first year we will return them to profitability . . . and integrate into the Transaero structure.”

He said he expected the Irish business to achieve turnover of “in excess of €22 million” this year.

Transaero plans to use the Shannon business to conduct a lot of the heavy maintenance work on its 82 aircraft.

The Irish company recently began the process of certification for Boeing 747s and 777s. It currently works on 737s and 767s.

“We don’t have a heavy maintenance facility in Moscow and don’t have plans to develop that. We always wanted to control more of our own destiny on the maintenance side and were on the look out for a good facility to partner with.”

Transaero is due to take delivery of four 787 Dreamliner from Boeing in 2014 and Mr Krinichanskiy indicated that the Shannon plant might be upgraded to handle maintenance work on this new aircraft model.

“That’s what we are looking at. Probably 787 makes much more sense because in this part of the world, there is just one company that is getting there to service 787s. That is one of the plans we have in mind when talking to Boeing. It would open up endless opportunities for our affiliate here.”

Mr Krinichanskiy said there was “no business case” currently to operate direct flights to Ireland from Russia but indicated that it might use Shannon as a stopover on services to the US.

“Shannon is unique in terms of offering a full pre-clearance for the United Sates,” he said. “Transaero operates to New York,Miami and Los Angeles. We are looking for secondary destinations in Boston and Chicago and other areas. There may be an economic and commercial case behind that.”

The airline held talks with Shannon airport in December.

Transaero recorded profits of $150 million on turnover of $3 billion last year.

Mr Krinichanskiy said he expected revenues to rise to $3.6 billion this year. The airline employs 9,500, primarily at bases in Moscow and St Petersburg.