Terming the Indian aviation industry as one of the fastest growing markets, aerospace major Lockheed Martin, said it was considering setting an its first engine Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in India and South Asia.
Currently, it operates two engine MRO units one each in the US and Canada.
The Bethesda-headquartered aviation services firm is in the process of conducting a feasibility study involving several aspects such as the market requirement and location for the proposed facility.
"We are currently investigating the market to try and establish a business case. We are talking to several of our partners to determine their requirements and how we could offer assistance if we were to set up an MRO," Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India told Express on the sidelines of the India Aviation 2014.
The feasibility study will be completed in due course and the company should be able to firm up its decision by the end of 2014, he added.
“We are yet to determine the capacity of the proposed facility and how many engines it could service. Also, we are looking multiple locations including Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai,” Phil said adding the nature of investments for the proposed facility can be ascertained after the feasibility study.
Lockheed Martin India already has presence in Hyderabad via its joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd — Lockheed Martin Aeroframe Corporation (LMAC) — and aims at assembling aero-structures, including centre wing boxes and empennage for defence aircraft.
According to Shaw, the company will also consider forging a joint venture with existing MRO facilities. "We are open to either setting up a facility from scratch or look at existing facilities for a likely tie-up," Shaw said.
He, however, ruled out exploring the MRO option in China, which is believed to have higher number of aircraft. “According to data, the growth in the Indian market in the next 10-20 years is going to be much more than that of China. So right now our focus is on the Indian market.”
The proposed facility, if set up, initially will cater to the Indian customers and could gradually expand services to South Asian customers.