India’s first aircraft overhauling facility takes off at Hosur

November 10th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) Mumbai-based aviation service provider Air Works has begun commercial operations of its MRO (maintenance, repair and overhauling) facility at Hosur near Bangalore, and would employ over 300 aircraft engineers shortly, the company said Monday.”We hope to take a lead as no other MRO facility has come up yet in India so far. You can also hire good aircraft engineers now when there is so much chaos in the aviation sector owing to economic slowdown,” Fredrick Groth, Air Works chief executive officer told reporters here.

Till now, Indian carriers got their aircraft serviced at MRO facilities in the US, Europe and West Asia.

India’s national carrier, Air India, is coming up with its own MRO facility in Nagpur, and Groth said the country required two to three MRO facilities at the most. India is expected to have over 500 aircraft by 2010, compared to 409 currently.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation - India’s aviation regulatory body - has approved the maintenance of over 40 aircraft types, said Groth.

“We will provide services such as line and base maintenance, aircraft painting, component and structural repairs besides cabin and avionic upgrade,” said Groth.

The company will tie up with UK’s Air Livery, Europe’s largest aircraft paint shop facility, he added.

Air Works is also in the process of bidding for setting up an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) facility at the Delhi and Mumbai airports, and has tied up with Zurich-based Jet Aviation, an MRO service provider for business jets and other small aircraft.

At present, Air Works has one hangar and can keep two mid-sized aircraft, and plans to develop four hangars by the end next year. Going forward, it plans to invest upward of $50 million for setting up the infrastructure to support the commercial MRO initiative.

Initially, Air Works will provide services for ATR 42/72 mid-sized aircraft; currently, India has 80 such aircraft. Some time early next year, bigger aircraft such as Airbus and Boeing will also be serviced.

In the first year, the company is looking at handling 12 to 15 aircraft, mostly ATR types, and expects to earn $50 million in the next two years.

Groth said talks have also begun with leading airlines such as Jet Airways and Kingfisher, and hoped to attract low-cost carriers as well.

“Most of these airlines have short contracts for the service facility unlike airlines in Europe and the US. So we stand a chance,” he said.

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