MTU Maintenance’s new repair facility in Serbia
MTU Aero Engines is expanding its global network of locations with a new engine parts repair shop in Stara Pazova, Serbia: MTU Maintenance Serbia.
01.2021 | Text: Nicole Geffert
Nicole Geffert has been working as a freelance journalist covering topics such as research and science, money and taxes, and education and careers since 1999.
Right now, the site where MTU Aero Engines will be building its new repair facility is still a green field. But the newly designated industrial park in Stara Pazova, Serbia is anything but tranquil, because starting in 2021, the 26-hectare site that MTU has acquired will be a hive of activity for construction vehicles, excavators and cranes. A new plant will emerge: MTU Maintenance Serbia. And in 2023, MTU repair specialists will be start work there on the first engine parts.
Stara Pazova I Serbia
Choice location: MTU Maintenance Serbia is close to Belgrade, the country’s economic and political center. The industrial park in Stara Pazova is only 25 kilometers from the international airport, offers room for expansion and has good transport connections.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić praised MTU’s commitment as an essential and decisive building block in the development of the aviation industry in Serbia. MTU is playing a pioneering role, and the conditions here are excellent. The industrial park in Stara Pazova is located only 25 kilometers from Nikola Tesla Belgrade international airport and boasts good transport connections.
“This industrial park definitely has growth potential—it could well attract our suppliers and partners,” says Rainer Becker, project manager and Managing Director of MTU Maintenance Serbia. The greater Belgrade area is home to universities and vocational schools for training skilled workers and offers housing for future employees.
470,000 repair hours per year
The ink had barely dried on the contract when Becker and his team got down to work on the detailed plans for the new MRO repair shop. Their first task was to define the product portfolio, decide which engine parts MTU Maintenance Serbia will repair and determine how much work the location could expect.
“In the first phase, we plan to have capacity for 470,000 repair hours per year,” says Holger Sindemann, head of MRO operations and also responsible for MTU Maintenance Serbia. MTU Maintenance’s worldwide locations perform about 1.9 million repair hours annually. The new shop in Serbia is a further reinforcement. “We were able to incorporate know-how from our maintenance locations worldwide into the planning for the new site.”
Order complex machines early
A team of about 30 MTU specialists in repair technologies, quality, logistics, finance and human resources is already working to establish the new maintenance location. The MTU office in Belgrade is now up and running, and the project team has defined the plant and process technologies. This means it will be possible to place early orders for particularly complex machinery with long delivery times.
All work areas had to be determined and the building layout had to be defined accordingly, so that the commissioned architects could work on the plans for the shop. Which processes will the shop be implementing? Which systems need to be installed and where? What building services technology is required to ensure supplies of electricity, water and compressed air?
MTU Maintenance Serbia: The site is being built in Nova Pazova and scheduled to begin operations in 2023.
Licenses and approvals
There are answers to all these questions. “All the planning is being done in close collaboration with the responsible authorities in Serbia to ensure that the new building complies with all regulations and specifications,” Becker explains. He and his team are also making every effort to extend OEM and customer licenses for the repair of engine parts to the new location. Applications for the necessary approvals by aviation authorities such as Germany’s Federal Aviation Authority must also be filed.
To coincide with the construction of the new repair facility, MTU is starting to recruit suitable employees and train future skilled workers. Collaboration with Serbia’s Ministry of Education as well as with universities, schools and the Aviation School in Belgrade had shown that the level of qualification is high. “We started an advertising campaign early on, made contacts and introduced ourselves. We’re delighted with the open-mindedness, the great interest and the constructive cooperation,” says Hans Triebenbacher, who heads MTU’s Training Center Serbia.
Dual-track training of skilled workers
In order to support existing qualifications, the shop will offer on-the-job training in the future. Last year, MTU and the government of the Republic of Serbia signed a declaration of cooperation to establish close collaboration on the dual-track training of skilled workers—as practiced in Germany. This guarantees the technical foundations required for a high-tech industry such as aviation. While the on-the-job training will initially take place at MTU locations in Germany and Canada, the aim is to conduct this training exclusively in Serbia from 2024.
By 2027, the new repair location is expected to grow to around 440 employees. MTU’s stated aim is to generate this growth out of Serbia. Project manager Rainer Becker: “We want to attract the most talented employees to MTU and create a working environment in which they can perform at their best. We make targeted investments in the training and development of our talented employees, helping them expand their know-how and develop their potential. MTU Maintenance Serbia will provide many people in the Stara Pazova region with career opportunities.”