National carrier Air India will have two maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities for its aircraft, one in Nagpur and the other in Delhi.
The two state-owned carriers, Air India and Indian Airlines, are being merged to form the new Air India. Before the merger, Indian Airlines had ordered 43 Airbus aircraft for its fleet, while Air India had opted for 68 Boeing aircraft. Air India's $100 million (around Rs 400 crore) MRO in Nagpur for servicing Boeing aircraft has been on the cards for long. Now, a second one is slated to come up in Delhi. The finer details are being worked out by the merger consultant, Accenture.
Industry sources said the Delhi facility could be dedicated for the repair and maintenance of Airbus aircraft.
It is worth noting that Airbus had recently entered into an agreement with Rajeev Chandrasekhar-promoted Jupiter Aviation to set up an MRO for its aircraft in India. Airbus hopes to sell over 500 aircraft to various Indian carriers in the next 15-odd years.
"We have an engine maintenance facility at Delhi airport which will probably be upgraded to an MRO. But we will need additional land and we will have talks with airport officials for that," said an airline official.
The jet engine overhaul centre at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is spread over an area of 140,000 square feet and undertakes repair and overhaul of aircraft engines. Sources said that an additional area of 60,000 sq metres would be needed to upgrade the facility to an MRO.
The Boeing Company had also named Nagpur as the location for its planned regional MRO facility. The Nagpur facility will provide a convenient, centralised location for India-based airlines to schedule routine maintenance and overhaul work, and to have repairs completed.
Other companies such as Singapore Airlines, ST Aerospace, Lufthansa Technik of Germany and El Al Israel Airlines were also looking at the growing MRO market in the country.
Even engine manufacturers, such as GE, Rolls Royce, Snecma and Pratt & Whitney, are Eyeing the space As India may well become a major outsourcing hub for global aviation players.