Air India Charters Ltd’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility here will soon have its own management team. Necessary sanctions have been received in this connection, H.R. Jagannath, chief of engineering, told Business Line.
Set up on 6.07 hectares of land provided by the State Government in the vicinity of the international airport terminal, the MRO was commissioned last year.
It takes care of all engineering requirements of Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Air India Express.
All engineering checks from transits up to the level of ‘C’ can be undertaken here, which features a workshop, warehouse and office space spread over 5,000 sq metres.
The facility will turn over a new leaf when it undergoes mandatory Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) audit for taking up the ‘C’ checks on aircraft.
The resident DGCA official stationed at Kochi is expected to visit the facility on Tuesday next to carry out the audit. Jagannath expects the DGCA certificate to be available by the New Year, which would be a milestone achievement.
According to A.E. Sharma, who heads the quality wing, the MRO would apply for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) next year.
Even otherwise, it has been able to show a good account of itself thanks largely to its captive clientele of Air India Express aircraft.
“We did not have to look around for business; on the contrary we have benefited immensely from the experience of attending to three to four aircraft every week,” Jagannath said.
Quality of resources available, including engineers and technicians, enables the facility to offer the ‘most competitive’ quotes, Jagannath said. It is looking to take up third party business in the medium to long term, he added. But he is up against varied challenges on this front.
Foremost among them is the issue of high taxation of imported spares, consumables and components, which tends to negate the ‘home advantage.’
The Government needs to urgently take up the issue so that MROs can turn a highly profitable business by taking up third party business, Jagannath said.
Bonded store is another major requirement. This is a designated place where components and materials for aircraft received from approved sources are stocked.
Now these have to be flown in from Mumbai, Jagannath said. There are at least 12,000 items of spares needed for an aircraft, said Sharma.
The MRO is also looking to establish joint ventures for backup shops to outsource small unit repairs such as retreading of aircraft tyres, among others.
Interested parties may invest their own funds to set up these shops near the MRO, Jagannath said.