Inside Magnetic MRO through the eyes of Pauliina Heikkilä, freelance airline representative

Pauliina Heikkilä is a freelance airlines representative – however, she had worked on so many projects with us, that we do consider her as part of our extended family. In fact, it is two years this June since she had her first task with us, and stayed in Tallinn ever since. Surely, this occassion calls for the celebration – and we do it with interview! 

How long have you been working with Magnetic? What was the project you came here for? What are you working on now? 

Pauliina Heikkilä: My first project at Magnetic was the ATR cabin modifications for Finnair. I got here during the second aircraft out of total 12, on 04th of June 2019, so I’m actually having my 2-year Magnetic anniversary now! And when my ex-colleagues from SAS heard I’ve moved to Tallinn, it sort of was a natural thing to start helping them out. During the gaps in the SAS line I’ve done a couple of projects for leasing companies, and even had to say no for a couple of requests in TLL this spring. Comparing to my freelancing colleagues it seems like I’m based in the busiest North European airport!

What was your first impression about Magnetic? How did it change over time? 

PH: I almost ended up repping at Magnetic  MRO for the first time in 2016, but then my aircraft was delayed in another MRO and somebody else had to take over. Still remember how disappointed I was! I recall being intrigued how this Estonian company all of a sudden is ”the talk of the town”, and how impressed I was with Risto’s, Magnetic MRO CEO, use of LinkedIn. In 2016 it basically was like only Richard Branson and Risto who utilized social media to their advantage. Maybe a slight exaggeration but then it really wasn’t yet that common, so at that time he sort of epitomized the whole Magnetic MRO for me. And to some extent he still does! With the Finnair project we had more than our fair share of set-backs, but it also showed that Magnetic (and especially Toomas-Tanel, who was the main saviour!) has one of the most important qualities of a good MRO: problems always arise and things – even mistakes – happen, but what matters is how you solve them. So my first impression hasn’t really changed that much, maybe even improved, as now I know for example the magical things your interior shop and painters can perform!

Let’s move out from hangars and to the city. As Finnish, you have moved to Tallinn a couple of years ago. Tell us about your first impressions about Tallinn – also, here it would lovely to hear about your favorite places in the city (or outside)?

PH: Have to admit that I can’t really recall much of my first impressions about Tallinn, my dad was working here in the 80’s so I only remember that Viru Hotel seemed big! But I’ve always been a bit of an Estophile, there were a couple of summers when I was still living in Finland I spent all my days off in Tallinn. Moving here happened via Latvia, though, I had to admit I don’t have the brain capacity to learn Latvian but I didn’t want to move out of the Baltics so I ended up here. Haven’t regretted one bit! I absolutely love the restaurant scene in Tallinn, for someone who has lived both in Switzerland and Norway the price-quality ratio still amazes me. My long time go-to favorite restaurant is Kohvik Moon, I tell everybody to go there and nobody ever complained afterwards! Anno is another great restaurant that never disappoints. I also find the Põhjala Brewery to be both an awesomely beautiful building and a nice hang-out, but for real craft beer enthusiasts I would recommend more Koht in Old Town. Everybody should of course see Lennusadam, and from there maybe venture to Paljassaare to see some real nature so close to the city. Or to Kopli, where -although I’m biased here- are some of the most beautiful buildings in Tallinn, the Stalinkas and wooden houses of Professorite küla, and Kopli Rahvamaja. Põhjala tehas (not to be confused with the Brewery) has some interesting new cafes and restaurants, with one quarter of the tourists and hipsters of Telliskivi, so that’s also highly recommended for anybody visiting Tallinn!

What are your most exciting work memories? Maybe you have some stories to share? 

PH: Had to think long and hard about this one, as most stories were definitely not funny at the time they happened! But guess my most tragicomical work memory was when I was working for Jetaviation AOG team. There was a Global AOG in Saratov, it was middle of the winter and sometime after the Lokomotiv Jaroslav crash. I promised to go, but refused to fly so I had to take a train from Moscow to Saratov. The flight crew had been told to land there as “there’s hangar available”. Too bad it was bombed down during the 2nd World War so that was a bit outdated information. So no hangar, -30 degrees, the aircraft owner’s representative brought me a stand-by horizon that was customs declared as ”car parts” with a nice Audi dealership invoice and all, no way to get an Air Data tester or even if I would have gotten it sent from Jetaviation Moscow, it’s useless in -30. Aircraft oxygen was getting low so I had to use my 5 words of Russian (out of which 4 are bad words) to get help from the nicest Saratov Airlines guys. We had to wait for Bombardier to give us an OK to fly without the test. The poor little Global was freezing so I had to sleep in the aircraft with APU running to keep it somewhat thawed. I remember thinking that if the APU shuts down I’ll die in my sleep. But somehow we eventually made it out of there! My American boss at-the-time says he still keeps on telling the story to everybody how he sent this crazy Finnish woman to ”Siberia”. And for some reason I went back to ”real aircraft” soon after…