Air Works expecting regulatory approvals within 4-6 weeks for new MRO unit in Kochi: CEO

Deepak Patel
·3-min read

Bengaluru, Feb 6 (PTI) Air Works is expecting approvals for its new aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Kochi from Indian aviation regulator DGCA and European aviation regulator EASA within the next 4-6 weeks, its Managing Director and CEO D Anand Bhaskar has said.

Moreover, the company is planning to increase capacity of its existing MRO unit at Hosur in Tamil Nadu from four bays to five bays within the next 60 days, Bhaskar told PTI in an interview.

'We can handle four aircraft simultaneously at Hosur. There are four bays. When I say aircraft, it means narrow-body aircraft like A320 or B737. If you have private jets, you can put more into them,' he said.

The Indian carriers have a fleet of around 700 aircraft, which includes narrow-body aircraft like B737 and wide-body aircraft like B787, among them.

Apart from facilities in Hosur and Kochi, Air Works has DGCA-approved facility at Mumbai for smaller aircraft (general aviation aircraft). Bhaskar said, 'Our new Kochi facility is ready from our side. We are waiting for regulatory approvals. As we speak, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) approval is going through and after that we will be doing EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) approvals as well.' When asked for an estimated time it would take to get these approvals, he said it is likely to take between 4-6 weeks.

The construction for the Kochi facility started immediately after the lockdown, he said. It will have two bays but since they are quite big, they will be able to handle two private jets, two helicopters and two narrow-body aircraft simultaneously, he said. 'Everyone was quite shaken up when I said I am increasing capacity, when everyone is talking about doomsday and things will fall off but I said no, this is the right thing for us to do,' he added.

'COVID-19 according to me is an opportunity because now, for some time people will be very cost conscious and India can you give that kind of quick turnaround at a good price. The price point that India can offer is better than anyone in this region,' Bhaskar noted.

The turnaround time -- time taken to repair or overhaul -- of an aircraft depends on what kind of checks one is doing. Lower level checks that are termed as C1, C2 and C3 can be done in 3-6 days. More intensive checks that are termed in between C6 and C12 take about 4-6 weeks.

The leasing period of an aircraft in India can be anywhere between 3-8 years. The aircraft has to be in fit shape when it is delivered to the lessor after the use.

'Today, redelivery is a huge market. Indian aviation and its growth has been around for quite some time. Now, three-yearly and five-yearly redeliveries are coming up. Redeliveries are a big business for MRO because the aircraft has to be put back into the same shape as they (lessee) got it,' Bhaskar said.

It requires painting, it requires seat refurbishment, in addition to all other maintenance, he said. PTI DSP TDS TDS