AAR is getting into Indian aircraft maintenance in a big way that could get even bigger. The U.S.-based MRO, which has been going increasingly global in recent years, is partnering with Indamer Aviation, to build an airframe maintenance in Nagpur. The facility will initially have six narrowbody bays, including a painting bay, when it opens in autumn 2018, but the partners envision expansion to 16 bays, plus component repair shops.
Rahul Shah, AAR’s senior VP for strategic growth in Asia and the Middle East, says the Nagpur facility will support all narrowbodies, including new-generation platforms. The staff will be Indian and include some of Indamer’s current mechanics. “Typically you need at least 250 workers to get started, and that will grow into more than 400 when we have a full workload in the six initial hangars,” Shah says. “We will have more specifics in a few months.”
The AAR exec says Nagpur will provide services similar to the wide range of services AAR provides in the U.S., including, “painting, lease-return modifications, cabin modifications and upgrades including inflight entertainment, and so forth. As part of full-service provision, there is also a plan for component repair back shops immediately.”
One reason for the partnership with Indamer is that it is an Indian company and knows the local market and workforce. “A training school under Indamer’s CAR 147 certification will be used to train engineers under the government of India’s skill development program,” Shah explains. This training will be in addition to AAR’s own maintenance and training experience, plus the MRO’s training curriculum. The initial group of Nagpur mechanics will receive practical training at one of AAR’s maintenance facilities in the U.S.
Shah says Nagpur’s initial focus will be supporting Indian airlines, and it is working on certifications by FAA, EASA and India’s regulators. FAA and EASA certifications will enable Nagpur to also serve airlines outside India. The plan is to build up to 16 bays over the next five years. “So the eventual plan is to support non-Indian airlines as well,” Shah says.