Maintain in India

With growth in aviation industry, government must facilitate the MRO sector

Dinesh Kumar PandeyDr Dinesh Kumar Pandey

Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services are a crucial component of the aviation industry, facilitating the continued operation of aircraft at their best. MRO includes inspecting, rebuilding, and modifying aircraft and selling accessories, raw materials, spare components and other consumables used in their production as well as maintenance. Aerial maintenance and overhaul require a significant investment of technical expertise and skill. Furthermore, to ensure that the aviation business operates in a secure and reliable manner, this market is subject to stringent regulations and oversight from governments worldwide.

The MRO ecosystem includes original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), service providers, distributors and producers of components and spares. It also includes airline operators. The major goal of the highly regulated MRO sector is to ensure that aircraft remain airworthy by performing regular inspections, repairs, planned component replacements and maintenance during redelivery. National regulatory bodies enforce these processes, and the ICAO coordinates them according to international norms.

While the worldwide aircraft fleet is anticipated to reach over 380,000 by the year 2033, it is estimated that the global aviation MRO industry will reach a consolidated market size value of over USD 125 billion during the next ten years.

The engine, component, line, airframe and modification submarkets make up the worldwide market for aircraft. The engine segment is the most sizable among them. It was worth USD 43.5 billion in 2020. In 2023, it made up around 46 per cent of the world’s civil air transport MRO market, and by 2031, it's expected to be worth USD 56.6 billion.

Given the present ambitious trajectory on the augmentation of aircraft numbers within India's commercial and military domains, the objective is firmly established for India to emerge as a prominent hub for MRO activities in the region, thereby facilitating substantial growth within the nation.


Indigenisation of MRO in India

MRO is a sector of paramount importance for India's economy. Despite natural advantages like increasing passenger traffic and a large fleet, the MRO industry in India was unable to grow in tandem due to certain critical challenges. These barriers relate to operational, regulatory and infrastructure-related challenges faced by MROs.

The indigenisation of MRO would mitigate India’s dependence on foreign nations and bestow the country with greater authority over its aviation sector. Among the many noteworthy advantages of indigenising MRO in India are:

(a)        Cost-effectiveness: MRO may help airlines save money by extending the lifespan of their aircraft. Airline operators can trim operating costs for sending planes to repair facilities outside the country by doing MRO operations in India.

(b)       Fault Forecasting: MRO performs an essential role in accident prevention by identifying and eliminating potential defects before they lead to an aircraft malfunctioning.

(c)        Consistency: The credibility of aircraft and their ability to operate per the planned schedule is facilitated by MRO. The airline industry and its customers will benefit from consistency.

(d)       Shorter aircraft turnaround times: Indian MRO facilities would be geographically closer to Indian airlines, enabling them to make aircraft return to service in a shorter time. Enhanced capabilities will generate more customer services, revenue and profits.

(e)        Employment generation: The MRO sector constitutes a significant employer base in India. If MRO is indigenised, many new jobs could be created in the country.

(f)        Transfer of technology: The indigenisation of MRO could assist India in developing its ecosystem for aerospace technology. Consequently, India will more likely become an influential global player.

Maintain in India

MRO and Aviation Industry

MRO functions as an integral component of the aviation sector. It guarantees aircraft airworthiness and operational safety. MRO is indispensable in ensuring the long-term reliability of aircraft and their components. This element enables airlines to significantly reduce operating costs on spare replacements while improving their financial performance.

MRO encompasses various operations, such as data-driven decision-making, effective inventory management, timely repairs and preventative maintenance. Management of work requests, asset and equipment management, spare parts inventories, preventative maintenance planning and scheduling and work orders are typical MRO functions.

In India, the MRO industry is in its infancy, with a substantial portion of MRO work being outsourced to external countries. The Indian government has acknowledged the significance of MRO and has implemented various measures to foster the expansion of the MRO industry in India. Nevertheless, multiple challenges must be overcome to attain self-sufficiency in MRO. As per a report by NITI Aayog, the MRO industry in India is confronted with several constraints, such as excessive taxes, complications with rules and regulations, insufficient space at major airports, a scarcity of training institutions and a high rate of skilled labour attrition owing to the expansion of MRO operations in the Far East and Middle East.

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