Air India MRO to start operation next year

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) National passenger carrier Air India's maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Nagpur will become operational by the second quarter of 2014, Global aircraft manufacturer Boeing said Wednesday.

"The facility (MRO) will become operational by the second quarter of calender year 2014. The hand over of the facility (to Air India and Boeing) will be done by the end of this quarter or the next," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president, sales, Asia Pacific and India, Boeing Commercial Aircraft.

According to Keskar, the facility will be handed over by Larsen and Toubro (L&T), who have been contracted to build the MRO, after the commissioning of key facilities and equipments like water, electricity and pressurized systems.

"We are in touch with Air India and L&T. After commissioning of all the equipment and machinery, they will be tested and only after that the MRO will become operational."

After testing of the equipment DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) clearance will be sort by Air India and Boeing.

The $100 million MRO project is part of an agreement between the national carrier and Boeing following an order for 737s and 787s Dreamline which were placed by Air India in January 2006.

Apart from Air India's aircraft, the MRO will offer services to other carriers which are operating Boeing planes as well like Jet Airways and SpiceJet.

"The facility will be able to handle, the 737s, 787s and 777s and the extra capacity can be then usewd to service other airlines' aircraft," Keskar added.

The MRO facility, spread over 50 acres next to the Nagpur airport, will have two hangars. It would offer maintenance and overhauling services to 300 aircraft a year. Both the hangars will have capacity to house three 737 aircraft each or one 777s or 747 each.

Air India plans to use the MRO as part of a separate profit-making subsidiary of the airline's engineering division- Air India Engineering Services which was envisaged in the turnaround and financial restructure plan of the airline.

Nearly 7,000 employees of Air India had been assigned to shift to AIESL which the national carrier plans will handle the MRO facility for third-party work for generating extra revenues.

According to a civil aviation ministry report last year, the Indian MRO industry is expected to triple in size from Rs.2,250 crore ($440 million) in 2010 to Rs.7,000 crore ($1,369 million) by 2020.

However, this is quite small when compared to present size of per annum MRO business in the UAE ($1,565 million) and China ($1,956 million).

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