Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), a subsidiary of national carrier Air India, today officially announced the induction of first aircraft from a third party for major maintenance at its MRO unit here. The announcement of the induction of SpiceJet Boeing 737 for “C checks” at the MRO facility, was made at a ceremony here in the presence of Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani and SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh were also present on the occasion. “Once the capacity at the Nagpur MRO facility is fully utilised, it will create thousands of jobs,” Raju said. The minister expressed hope that the foreign airlines will also avail the MRO (maintenance, repair and over haul) services offered by the AIESL at its Nagpur facility. This will be the first major maintenance work to be carried out for any external party at the MRO centre, Air India said, adding the maintenance work on the SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 will be completed in six days.
SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh said the airline is planning to make Nagpur as one the hubs for its aircraft and launch flights from the city. Built over 50 acres of land in MIHAN special economic zone here, the MRO unit was set up as a joint initiative between Air India and the US aircraft maker, The Boeing Company in June 2010. Besides maintaining Air India’s Boeing aircraft fleet, the Nagpur facility has the mandate to carry out third-party works as well. AIESL is working aggressively to expand its foot print in the high-growth potential MRO segment as most of the private airlines carry out these works overseas.
Apart from carrying out maintenance work on Boeing 737 and 777 fleet, the MRO facility is also allowed to conduct up to 4A checks on Airbus A320 aircraft. So far, Air India and Boeing have invested around $116 million in the Nagpur facility. Of this, about $107 million has been invested by Boeing alone. AIESL had signed an agreement with the SpiceJet to get C1, C2 and higher checks to be carried out on their Boeing 737-800/900 aircraft, in September last year. The work will be carried out jointly by AIESL and SpiceJet engineers.
Simultaneously, AIESL also trained 10 SpiceJet engineers for this purpose. The contract is worth $6 lakh per year and is valid for three years with assured 100 days of work each year. The Nagpur MRO facility consists of two wide-body hangars, a support building and other miscellaneous buildings. The MRO unit is designed for undertaking maintenance of any type and size of aircraft, including A380. Each hangar can accommodate one wide body or three narrow body aircraft at a time.