Aviation Industry in Kaunas Is Growing

2017-04-07 15:15

With a history of technical expertise in the aviation and maintenance, repair and overhaul industries, Kaunas has built a niche for itself in this field, aided by its international airport and adjacent free zone, Invest Lithuania reports.

A further attraction for investors in the aviation sector is Kaunas International Airport, the second largest passenger airport in Lithuania, which saw its highest number of travellers in 2016 at 750 000. However, the aim of the Kaunas International Airport is to develop Kaunas as an industrial hub for cargo and technical services. Industry that Kaunas hopes to thrive in is maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) in the aviation sector.

“We have potential for technical maintenance and MRO activities, and we want to expand this”, says Jurate Baltrusaityte, chief commercial officer at Kaunas International Airport.

Collaborating with Educational Institutions

Lithuania boasts more aviation technicians per capita than Germany, France and the UK, and MRO companies in the country currently employ 1 200 people and maintain more than 300 aircraft per year. In Kaunas, the presence of major industry players such as Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, Danish MRO provider Dot LT and Lithuania’s FL Technics – as well as a close proximity to Kaunas Free Economic Zone (FEZ), with which the airport shares a common border – gives the city a unique advantage both within the country and Baltics region.

“We’re working on aircraft technician and mechanic training programmes with our universities because there is a need for that personnel. So academia responds to the needs of business,” says Ms Baltrusaityte. “With the advantages we can offer here – the labour cost, labour pool and Kaunas FEZ, we believe Lithuania and Kaunas, with its deep engineering knowledge, could be the place for aircraft technical services development.”

Avia Practica Work Placement Model at KTU

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) is responding to the needs of the growing market: last year first in Europe aeroengineering cluster, uniting educational and business institutions has been created.

From next September Avia Practica work placement model which will be applied in the Aviation Engineering study programme will be introduced at KTU. According to Avia Practica, the students will have two semesters during the four years of studies for expanding their specialisation skills: for going abroad on study exchange, or for choosing work placement in an aviation company.

“In such a way students will gain real knowledge and skills during their study process, as they will solve real industry problems. Avia Practica model ensures that after the four years at the university the student has a year’s practical experience, which is invaluable for the graduates of Aviation Engineering”, says KTU’s Vice-Rector for Studies Jurgita Šiugždinienė.

It is being estimated that aviation industry companies could employ about 250 professionals today.

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