Airbus owner, Air India to set up maintenance facility in Delhi (Lead)

October 16th, 2008 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Oct 16 (IANS) Air India and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) are joining hands to set up an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre in Delhi for the state-owned carrier’s Airbus aircraft.The centre, which will start operations from early 2009 at the India Gandhi International Airport, will become a member of the Airbus MRO network.

The government’s National Aviation Company of India Ltd (Nacil) owns Air India, while Airbus is an arm of EADS.

The two firms will initially be 50-50 equity partners in the joint venture, but a third Airbus network partner - a local EADS affiliate company - will be inducted later. The total project cost has been estimated at $40 million spread over five years.

As per the agreement, the joint venture will initially undertake airframe maintenance and repair of Nacil’s Airbus aircraft.

Later, the facility will service other types of aircraft like the ATR, aircraft of other airlines, and aircraft outside the Airbus family, as well as entering the component maintenance business.

Nacil is currently in the process of inducting 43 new A320 aircraft from Airbus into its fleet. The induction programme, which started last year, will continue till early 2010. Currently, it operates 43 A320s, 11 A319s, 10 A321s, eight A310s and two A330s - all Airbus aircraft.

EADS officials said the MRO facility would also cater to the markets in South Asia region and neighbouring countries. By 2013, over 100 single-aisle aircraft and around 10 wide body aircraft would be maintained and the centre would employ 250 to 300 Indian technical personnel.

Jitender Bhargava, Air India’s executive director of corporate communications said the airline was setting up four MROs in the next couple of years. The MRO in joint venture with Boeing will come up at Nagpur.

Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president, sales, Boeing, said they were working with Maharashtra government for setting up MRO at Nagpur. “The MRO will come up after we meet certain requirements,” he said.

Air India, which placed orders for 111 aircraft in 2005, will also set up MROs for engines and components. The aircraft would be inducted in a phased manner by 2012, said Bhargava.

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