The state-owned Pawan Hans is in discussions with European aviation major Airbus to jointly set up an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility at Mumbai’s Juhu aerodrome.
“It (discussion) is almost at final stages. There is some nitty-gritty which is to be sorted out,” Pawan Hans Chairman and Managing Director B P Sharma said in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Hopeful that a pact could be inked by the end of this month, Sharma said the proposed MRO will initially provide maintenance and other related services for Dauphin and other Airbus choppers.
Speaking at the India Aviation-2016 event, Sharma said availability of land is not a constraint at the Juhu airport where the MRO is to come up.
Yesterday, Pawan Hans had announced its plan to jointly develop the MRO with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for maintaining defence choppers fleet.
The government owns 51 per cent stake in Pawan Hans while the rest is with ONGC.
Besides, Sharma said, the company is expected to hold parleys with the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments to explore business opportunities in the two states.
As per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pawan Hans and HAL, both companies will form a joint working team and conduct detailed studies and work on the business plan, among others.
HAL has been manufacturing and overhauling its Cheetah or Chetak and Dhruv helicopters, besides providing support.
Earlier this month, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the 2016-17 Budget proposals for the civil aviation sector will help India become a hub for MRO activity.
In the Budget 2016-17, the government has come out with various proposals, including Customs and excise duty exemption for tools and tool kits used in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) works.
“The MRO business of Indian carriers is around Rs 5,000 crore, 90 per cent of which is currently spent outside India — in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE,” Raju had said.
“Given our technology and skill base, the government is keen to develop India as an MRO hub in Asia, attracting business from foreign airlines while retaining domestic business.”
In line with the Make in India initiative, many other incentives have also been extended to the MRO segment. These include scrapping the one-year restriction for utilisation of duty-free parts and permitting import of unserviceable parts by MROs for providing exchange.