Igor Emelyanov, Aviazapchast - ОАО «Авиазапчасть»
Release Date: 2011-08-26Igor Emelyanov: let's produce more helicopters!
Igor Emelyanov, general director of Aviazapchast, met with Russianavia.net for the report "Russian helicopter industry: a global player" to discuss the key priorities of Aviazapchast, the factors that hinder fair competition of suppliers on the Russian market of aircraft maintenance, and the outlook of Aviazapchast as a global player keen to retain the traditional markets of influence and open new doors.
Mr. Emelyanov, you have mentioned in your previous interviews that the task of Aviazapchast is to bring back to life the good old Soviet traditions in servicing the Russian aircraft abroad. How do the activities of Aviazapchast look like today in working with helicopters? How feasible is it to revive the Soviet traditions in aircraft maintenance?
The Soviet experience was perfect to deliver good quality in maintenance of the Russian aircraft abroad but today, under market economy, all parties arrange their cooperation on their own. We have not yet returned to the level that we had, and this is where we need to catch up. Today, what interests any customer who buys an aircraft is not even its price – it’s the after-sale service: the customer needs to understand the costs of aircraft maintenance for the next 25-30 years. Hence, it is important that the seller could explain and show how an aircraft or helicopter will be serviced during its lifecycle, and this requires maintenance centers, simulators, training methods. We need to catch up with the expertise of the world leaders, and this is the job of the sellers. Moreover, the traditional markets for Russian helicopters are the countries where the Soviet Union had economic, political and financial influence. Today, it is extremely difficult to win new markets.
Historically, Aviazapchast is a mediator between the manufacturers and the final consumers. Our task on the market is to remain intact as a supplier, as a legal entity, as a company that has been on the world market for more than 40 years. And to remain competitive, we should focus on keeping our reliability, quality, speed and price.
What makes Aviazapchast different from other suppliers?
Maybe it’s our charisma… For many years, we have been a professional company in export contracts. Why are we the partner of choice? We are a shop, and, as any shop, we provide a service. We can finance it, we can re-insure it, and we can go for more flexible terms of payment…. Even with other suppliers, you will choose us if you are comfortable to work with us, that’s why our clients give us the preference. My task is to let my company capitalize on the volume and turnover – we don’t need one-off deals. Of course, we try to work on the long perspective and hit new markets.
We also dream to hit the domestic market. Firstly, this is new for us, and secondly, we have seen the attempts of our friends and partners to try to work on the domestic market – it’s a challenge, that’s why I feel thankful to have the opportunity to work for export. Moreover, there is a very clear factor that hinders our work on the domestic market. Although we are ready to increase our domestic deliveries, we only work with authentic spare parts, and their prices do not always meet the expectations of the Russian operators. Unfortunately, I have to recognize that the Russian market is still characteristic for “grey” supplies of spare parts. In this regard, the recent contract of Rosoboronexport and the U.S. government for a delivery of Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan – where the U.S. government is our customer for the first time in the history of our relations - is, to in my view, a great achievement in overcoming the problem of dealing with unauthentic spare parts. I would like to emphasize that Aviazapchast is interested in participating in this project.
According to Andrey Reus, general director of Oboronprom, the Russian helicopter manufacturers are facing an ambitious target of producing up to 300 helicopters per year by 2012. What prospects does this open for Aviazapchast as a partner of the Russian helicopter industry?
As long as the Russian helicopter industry produces a lot of aircraft and rotorcraft, a lot of them will be operated in the world, which opens good prospects for many companies, including the final consumers: growth of production reduces the cost of equipment, the operation costs, and expands the geographical areas of maintenance. It is true that more helicopters are being produced over the last years because Russia has large contracts with India, China, Latin America, Africa, Afghanistan, where our helicopters are virtually unrivaled. The unique Mi-8/17 helicopter that appeared 50 years ago is still unmatched by the Western manufacturers. But, when its price exceeds US$12-13 mln, we reach the red line where the quality no longer meets the price, and a helicopter is no longer commercially interesting for the customer. Of course, we will benefit from the growing volume of sales and production of Russian Helicopters. Aviazapchast perfectly understands the dominance of Russian Helicopters on the helicopter market. We are OK with it, but we, a small company, would also like to have an opportunity to work freely.
Foreign helicopter manufacturers, such as AgustaWestland, who is launching manufacturing of AW139 in Russia, are looking for a solution to organize servicing in Russia…
Aviazapchast has contacted AgustaWestland. We are interested in cooperating with them but there are also things that do not depend on us. As you said, they are now launching their manufacturing in Russia. If they are independent enough in choosing their partners for servicing, they know that we are ready to work with AgustaWestland.
What are the most important export markets for Aviazapchast at this point?
Our priority markets are India, China, Africa, Latin America and Middle East - regions that traditionally operate Russian helicopters, and I hope that they always will. Aviazapchast has rep offices in India, Algeria and France. Today, India is our main customer. In China, we are quite happy with direct contracts. We also plan to return on the Latin American market.
What factors challenge the entry on Latin American market?
We are obliged to have a station there with a stock of our spare parts, and we are ready to invest in it in order to deliver the required spare parts upon one phone call – which is normal practice for the Latin American market. Not a single Russian company provides such service there – maybe, we will manage to be the first. As I said, our task is to perform well on our current contracts and look for new contracts.
Does Aviazapchast cooperate with the Russian helicopter operators abroad?
Large Russian operators who buy foreign helicopters – such as UTair – have a developed servicing infrastructure abroad. In fact, any large operator has it. They want their helicopters to fly and make money. We are ready to cooperate with them, and we know how to do that and what companies we can invite to cooperate. 90% of our final consumers are foreign authorities with their own service centers.
Were you ever offered to integrate in larger structures?
Over the last years, we have received a lot of integration offers. A respectable gentleman who once made me this offer now admits that I was right not to accept it. On our business souvenirs, we already put “Aviazapchast - 45 years”, and we hope to see our company live through this age. We won’t integrate anywhere and we hope that we won’t be forced to do that. We want to remain free and independent in taking decisions. Our value – and I always defend it – is independence. We are an instrument. We work for the interest of our country and our industry, and we are ready to be advised on how we can improve our work.
Mr. Emelyanov, your final word to the Russian and international helicopter manufacturers, operators, service companies and other participants of the global helicopter market?
Let’s build as much helicopters as we can! The more Russian helicopters operate in the world, the better it is for Aviazapchast!
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