On November 18, 2022, Zerkalo published an article about the state of Belavia’s fleet, in which current employees of the airline shared the information they knew about the maintenance of aircraft on condition of anonymity.
We would like to update some of the theses mentioned in the article. We also remind that in July, the editors of MotolkoHelp already analyzed in detail the statistics on complaints of Belavia’s pilots about malfunctions for four months – from April to July 2022.
"I don't know of any cases where planes are just idle" – but there are...
«I don’t know of any cases where planes are just idle because of a shortage of spare parts. Belavia just can’t afford it now. The management is trying to keep them on the ground as little as possible,» an employee of Belavia told Zerkalo.
In fact, there are cases of aircraft being idle in Belavia. For example, it applies to the oldest and most problematic aircraft in the airline’s fleet – Boeing 737-300 with the registration number EW-254PA. This is the famous Boeing in the World of Tanks coloring, which the IT company Wargaming repainted back in 2016.
In addition to the fact that this plane is the absolute record holder for complaints among Belavia’s Boeings, right now it has been on the ground for more than 50 days.
EW-254PA aircraft hasn't flown since October 1, 2022 / flightradar24
Boeing 737-300 with the registration number EW-254PA / JetPhotos
You would think it was all about C-check – one of the regular aircraft service inspections that is performed every 20-24 months and takes the aircraft out of service for 1-2 weeks, but 50 days is too long for it, and Belavia does not have the appropriate resources for D-check (the most full and demanding aircraft inspection, performed every 6-10 years and requiring partial/full dismantlement of the aircraft for inspection and overhaul; takes up to 2 months).
We may assume that the company has some difficulties with the scheduled maintenance of this aircraft. Also, since our last review, inoperative APU (auxiliary power unit) was added to the list of problems with the Boeing-Tankolet.
In addition, the only Boeing 737 MAX 8 with the registration number EW-528PA in Belavia’s fleet is now idle for a long time – 24 days. Most likely, the aircraft passed its scheduled maintenance and 24 days is a long time for C-check. Maybe the problem is in waiting for spare parts?
Boeing 737 MAX 8 hasn't flown since October 28, 2022 / flightradar24
Boeing 737 MAX 8 with the registration number EW-528PA / Lukasz Jagodzinski
In general, this means that only 11 out of 13 available aircraft are currently in service. And here is a visual table with a list of the aircraft that have been stationed at Minsk National Airport as of the evening of November 21, 2022. The first column shows how long the aircraft has been on the ground.
Table of idle time at MSQ / motolko.help
3 out of 5 Belavia Embraer fly without APU
«I don’t know of any cases where an aircraft has gone on a flight under-repaired, under-maintained, or where we’ve been told, «Guys, this isn’t working there – keep that in mind.» Nothing is hidden outside the brackets. There may be minor malfunctions, but these are not serious things that don’t affect safety,» an employee of Belavia told Zerkalo publication.
Here we should note that according to the results of the last review, the least number of complaints was recorded on the aircraft manufactured by Embraer. And according to the information at the disposal of our editorial team, it has been noticed over the past four months that 3 out of 5 aircraft have problems in the form of inoperative APU.
This applies to the aircraft with the registration numbers EW-513PO, EW-512PO and EW-400PO. This problem is not an obstacle to flights (all three aircraft continue to fly «without APU»), but it is recommended to fix it at the next maintenance, and the first candidate for the repair should be the aircraft EW-513PO with APU not working since at least September.
Belavia Embraer ERJ-195LR (EW-513PO) / Planespotters
A good illustration of how APU helps in emergency situations is the story of the emergency landing of an aircraft in the United States in 2009, known as «Miracle on the Hudson» (and the movie with the same name based on it).
Emergency landing of A320 on the Hudson river in 2009 / Greg Lam Pak Ng
In addition to problems with APU, Belavia pilots complained from August to November about:
- Inoperative taxi light;
- Alarm indication for emergency exit to the wing (and subsequent return to the airport of departure);
- Inoperative meteo radar (also on Boeing 737 MAX 8);
- Air conditioning system;
- TCAS system operation;
- Outside air temperature sensor (TAT probe);
- Operation of the emergency attitude indicator;
- Condition of wheels.
In conclusion, if you work at Belavia or Minsk National Airport and want to share with us some important information about the state of the airline’s fleet or other data related to the aviation industry of the country, you can always contact us via @motolko_bot.
For more security, you can send us information through your friends/relatives who are abroad.