India has bare minimum MRO facilities, according to Piyush Srivastava, Economic Advisor, to the Ministry of Civil Aviation at Aero MRO Summit 2023. He added that, if India had adequate MRO services, GoFirst wouldn’t have landed on its belly.
“We handle only 15 per cent. Whatever maintenance work we perform here is at the bare minimum, focusing on line and airframe maintenance,” he noted, highlighting the deficiency in engine and component MRO facilities in India. He added that component maintenance and engine maintenance are something where we need to cover the ground, in India. Srivastava also proposed that India could open its doors to foreign MRO players.
According to him, “Our recent experience with Go First is fresh in our memory. It probably would not have landed on its belly had we had the requisite MRO services in the country. Its supplier, the OEM (PW) in that case, was not in a position to help the airline due to supply chain disruption, and the airline went belly up, which is not a good thing for the aviation sector if you ask me. Do whatever it takes, but we’d need to develop the ability to be in the country,” he added.
He also acknowledged that while the government can do much more, the ministry has already taken measures to bring down the GST rate from 18 per cent to 5 per cent . Then we also made concessions for components and tools among other things.
IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has grappled with persistent Pratt & Whitney engine issues on its Airbus A320neo planes for the past 5-6 years. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has urged the company to set up a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility in response to recent challenges. IndiGo anticipates grounding around 35 planes in the upcoming March quarter, in addition to the nearly 40 already grounded due to diverse engine-related problems. This situation poses capacity constraints for the airline, which has a fleet of 334 planes.
Go First has also faced similar engine issues. Despite ongoing efforts to address these challenges, reports are suggesting that Pratt and Whitney are considering establishing an MRO facility in India.