HYDERABAD: India’s first ever integrated eco-friendly Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility was launched by public sector airline, Air India, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) here on Friday. The Air India authorities said it was the first MRO facility to use solar energy for external lighting in the country. Using LED lights for work benches and rain water harvesting are other special features of the MRO.
Developed by the Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), the MRO facility will provide technical support, training and maintenance to all kinds of aircraft. Currently, it can serve a fleet of 125 aircraft at a time and is expected to expand its capacity. This will be Air India’s second such MRO facility in South India, after Thiruvananthapuram station. The previous MRO facility of Air India was located at the Begumpet Airport and became defunct eventually after the RGIA came up. The latest MRO facility at RGIA was inaugurated by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to serve exclusively the Air India fleet.
Though it was developed to be an in-house facility for Air India, the company also intends to provide services to other airlines as well.
Speaking about the new facility, H R Jagannath, chief executive officer of AIESL, said, “ The new MRO facility can serve two narrow body planes and one wide body plane at a time. The services will be available throughout the day, at least 200 employees will be on duty at any point of time.” Air India has invested around `79 crore on this facility.
Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who inaugurated the MRO facility, said the new facility will help Air India reduce its expenditure on repairs and maintenance. Despite being an aviation hub, Indian aviation industry still depends on other countries like Singapore and Sri Lanka for maintenance of aircraft and Airbus planes. “If we can develop MRO facilities domestically, it will help the aviation sector boost its profits,” the minister pointed out.
The Union minister also felt that the aviation sector has some impediments like high taxes by state governments and huge custom duties. Offering a helping hand, the minister promised to negotiate with state governments regarding the state taxes. “We have already discussed service tax and customs duties with the Union finance minister and he responded positively,” he added.