Dalip Singh | New Delhi, May 10 |
In line with commitment made in the India-US ministerial dialogue to strengthen MRO capabilities in India
AI Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) on Tuesday entered into an MoU with Boeing for maintenance of its critical equipment on key defence platforms used by the Navy and VVIP aircrafts operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Sharad Agarwal, CEO, AIESL, told BusinessLine the MRO facility of AIESL — an Air India subsidiary in Mumbai — is expected to be privatised soon and will be used for maintenance of Boeing defence platforms, including the P-81 fleet operated by the Navy and two VVIP Boeing 777s operated by the IAF to fly the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister,
“AIESL, the country’s largest DGCA approved MRO facility, has passed the Boeing quality test and without that, we would not have been in a position to enter into a pact with the American aerospace major. It will further strengthen our MRO capabilities and give us an opportunity to contribute towards the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative for promoting the domestic defence industry,” Agarwal said after the announcement.
The move signals the rolling out of the commitment shared in the joint statement on the fourth India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue held last month in Washington. The two countries had “committed to work closely across their respective governments on co-production, co-development, cooperative testing of advanced systems, investment promotion, and the development of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in India,” the India-US joint statement read.
Surendra Ahuja, Managing Director, Boeing Defence India, said, “Our planned collaboration with AIESL could position us to provide significant value-add to our defence customers locally by enabling faster turnaround, exceptional operational capability and mission readiness for the Indian armed forces. This is also an important step as part of our commitment to the Centre’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision of making India a regional MRO hub”.
The aerospace company also said in a statement, “Boeing India’s collaboration with AIESL would provide further impetus to the BIRDS hub initiative — an in-country network and alliance of suppliers led by Boeing in India that envisions a competitive MRO ecosystem for engineering, maintenance, skilling, repair and sustainment services for defence and commercial aircraft.”
The hub, according to the Boeing statement, has growing capabilities in India in the area of heavy maintenance, component repair, training and skilling of MRO maintainers. Boeing through BIRDS will offer “training programmes to increase skilled manpower by developing sub-tier suppliers and medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) to build high quality MRO capabilities in India ‘‘.
Through its MRO facilities at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram, the AIESL offers servicing and maintenance of civilian aircraft operated by domestic and international airlines.