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MRO Association of India has been working tirelessly for the benefit of MRO industry

Pulak Sen Pulak Sen

The commercial Indian maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry was worth USD800 million in 2015 and is expected to grow to over USD1.5 billion by 2020. However, currently India constitutes 1 per cent of the global MRO market worth USD45 billion.

It would be amazing to know that between 11 airlines in India today they hold 421 aircraft of nine different types – from the largest Boeing 747 to the smallest ATR-42. Added to this fleet there are 10 freighters; close to 300 helicopters and 800 general aviation aircraft, including the business jets and basic trainer aircraft.

Airlines in India spend about 13–15 per cent of their revenues towards maintenance, the second-highest cost item for airlines after fuel.

The MRO industry in the country is in its nascent stage and the focus by industry to optimise cost of aircraft operations, provides a strong foundation for the Indian MRO industry to strengthen its capability to meet global standards of excellence.

Currently, there are three full service MROs in India, namely, Air India Engineering Service Ltd., Air Works India and GMR AeroTech and several big and small component MROs.

There were some anomalies in the smooth running of the MRO industry in the country whereby the Indian airlines, even Air India, were sending their aircraft for MRO outside India – Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the UAE, etc. So much so that 90 per cent of the MRO business was sent overseas. Indian MRO industry has the advantage of a large market, lower cost of manpower and easily trainable and deployable manpower. However, these are nullified by our self-made problems.

MRO Association of India has been constantly working over the years with the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) to bring in reforms to create a level-playing field for the Indian MRO industry. Ultimately, when the National Civil Aviation Policy was being drafted, inputs from the Association were included.

The government is now keen to develop India as an MRO hub in Asia by attracting business from foreign airlines. Accordingly, the following steps will be taken in the NCAP to foster the growth of the Indian MRO industry.

The biggest being that the provision under AIC 3 of 2010 of Directorate General of Civil Aviation shall be reviewed to declare MRO as a separate category instead of clubbing with Ground Handling (GHA) for security procedures and remove restrictions on foreign registered aircraft for MRO work.

Pawan Hans Ltd is planning to setup MRO facilities in the country
Pawan Hans Ltd is planning to setup MRO facilities in the country

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