Welcome to our anniversary interview with Magnetic MRO’s Continuing Airworthiness Manager Andrei Pavlov. Andrei is one of Magnetic MRO’s most distinguished employees as he’s been working in the company and its predecessors longer than almost any other employee.
To honor all these years of hard work, our Marketing and Communication Specialist Eleen Änilane asked Andrei for a few moments of his time to talk about his experiences in the company.
Eleen Änilane: Andrei, thank you for meeting me in the middle of another incredibly busy period here in the Airworthiness department! I know you have a work anniversary coming up – how long have you been working in Magnetic MRO?
Andrei Pavlov: Well, I started here on the 12th of April, 1984, so it’s been 35 years. Of course, at that time, it wasn’t called Magnetic MRO yet.
EÄ: Amazing! So you’re actually celebrating your work anniversary this week! 35 years! That must mean you’ve seen a lot of Estonia’s aviation history with your own two eyes?
AP: Yes, the development I’ve seen this company go through is really extraordinary.
EÄ: Can you tell us a little more about the different roles you’ve had here?
AP: I started in 1984 as a Quality Engineer, then went on to work as a Line Maintenance Engineer and then Engineering Manager, which is basically the job that I do to this day.
Back when the company was still a part of Estonian Air, I was lucky to be one of the few engineers that were engaged in working on the first Boeing 737 aircraft we received in 1995. Can you imagine working on B737 at that time – an aircraft that’s price was higher than the budget of Estonia?
EÄ: It must have been a challenging and exciting time?
AP: Absolutely! Back then, we didn’t have the same kind of regulations we have now. EASA and the European Union were not the case back then, every country had their own regulations.
EASA was created much later as a common effort to regulate the European market. When Estonia joined it in 2004, we were already working as a separate entity under the name of AME (Air Maintenance Estonia), but I was still driving the company’s Engineering department. Now that you look back at this, it really has been a long way to success.
During the AME years, we were working from just one hangar. It was really challenging, because when something happened during a check and the aircraft had to stay in for longer, we didn’t have enough space to accommodate the next aircraft that was scheduled to be in maintenance right after it. It was difficult to manage the business in these conditions, and the trust of our customers wasn’t as high back then.
EÄ: It must be fascinating to have seen the company go through such an immense change then!
AP: Yes, it certainly hasn’t been effortless, though. When we finally moved into the new space, you would think that it got easier, but actually it was one of the most difficult times. It’s harder to fill four lines instead of one all of a sudden. It was difficult because we needed investments in everything – the materials, training the people, etc. All of this finally came together thanks to the optimism of our then-owners, BaltCap.
The change has been magnificent! When I began to work in this building, we only had three people in our team, plus me. Now we have sixteen. And this expansion happened within around two years.
EÄ: That’s incredible! Tell us more about the job you do at the Airworthiness department, and your team.
AP: To talk about airworthiness, we have to start with maintenance. These two services are connected at the base but they’re essentially different. Primarily, we’re between the operator and maintenance. We’re supposed to know and cover a lot of things.
Think of the allegory of the difference between airworthiness and maintenance as a pen. Maintenance is like working on a pen from the tip till the very end, piece by piece. You have to have the resources, the qualifications and a deep understanding of mechanics. In our case – in airworthiness – we don’t need to work on the aircraft from tip to end – we need to cover the whole pen at once. This is a very narrow part of the aviation industry. Worldwide, there are only a few thousand people who work in airworthiness. In maintenance, there are millions of people. So when we’re talking about airworthiness, we’re already on the world map with our sixteen-people team.
EÄ: Wow, good to know! If you look back at your time here, is there a memory that pops up as the fondest one?
AP: Good question! The most impressive time I’ve had here was probably the time when we were working on Boeing 737s for the first time. It was like a revolution for the whole Estonian aviation industry. That time was very interesting – we had to catch so many things at once – on things that we had never been touching before. There were only 16 people working on the planes. Managers, technicians, the director – we were all working together, no matter the rank. So what happened was that on one day, you might have been working as a mechanic, another day, when you should have been off, you were filling the manager’s role. It was a crazy time but definitely one of the best!
EÄ: Looking back at everything, how would you define all of the 35 years you’ve spent here?
AP: Hmm… I guess the main thing that defines my time here is simply that I have been very happy here both as a person as well as a professional. Personally, it makes me happy because I’m working in a business that I really like. Professionally, I’m happy because I’m still doing it, learning something new and pushing myself every day. Seeing all of the developments which have allowed us to grow as a business has made me really happy.