Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana has reached a major aviation milestone in the country’s history, by becoming the nation’s first airline to carry out a C2 check on an Airbus A320. This heavy maintenance concerned an aircraft flown by FlyArystan, its wholly-owned low-cost subsidiary. Let’s take a closer look at what this involved.
A useful partnership
Air Astana only recently received permission to undertake such heavy maintenance, with certification by international authorities having taken place last month. However, the Kazakh flag carrier has wasted no time in putting this certification to use, having recently announced the completion of its first A320 C2 check.
While Air Astana no longer flies Airbus A320ceos itself, these were transferred to FlyArystan, the carrier’s low-cost arm. As such, the latter benefited from its parent company’s recent certification by having the maintenance work done in its own country. Robert Dando, Air Astana’s Senior Maintenance Manager, stated:
“Our successful completion of the first heavy maintenance C2 check on an Airbus A320 serves to confirm the sophisticated capability of the company’s engineering resource and staff. The ongoing commitment to developing in-house maintenance strength will significantly reduce costs previously incurred when heavy maintenance tasks were undertaken outside Kazakhstan.”
More to come
Having been certified to carry out such heavy maintenance checks on home soil, Air Astana is now looking to both the shorter and longer-term future of this program. In a more immediate sense, the carrier is “aiming to complete two further C2 checks on Airbus family aircraft before the end of 2022.”
The airline has already been able to carry out C1 checks on Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft for around three years, having received permission to do so back in 2019. Going forward, Air Astana has “begun preparations for six-year and twelve-year maintenance checks, for which it expects to receive certification in mid-2023.”
Once this permission has been received, Air Astana notes that it will subsequently be able to “carry out all levels of maintenance on the Airbus A320/A321 aircraft at the maintenance base in Astana.” In the longer term, this will likely save the carrier considerable time and money compared to having to take aircraft abroad for checks.
Air Astana can already carry out certain maintenance on its Airbus A321s. Photo: Getty Images
A rigorous procedure
When it comes to maintenance, C2 checks represent a rigorous form of inspection. Indeed, as Air Astana explained in a statement corresponding to its recent completion, these checks feature “in-depth inspections and tests on every part of the aircraft, including non-destructive testing of the aircraft’s structure.”
In terms of the regularity of these inspections, the carrier adds that, with Airbus models, these must take place every 24,000 flight hours. Alternatively, they can also be done every 16,000 landings. Looking at data from ch-aviation.com, we can see that one of FlyArystan’s Airbus A320s (EI-KBB) is quite close to the latter of these, having racked up 15,609 flight cycles as of July 31st, 2022.