Boeing's India MRO to be ready in late 2011

Kuala Lumpur
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Boeing aims to start construction in the fourth quarter on a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre it is establishing at Nagpur airport with Air India.

The aircraft-makers' newly appointed president for India, Dinesh Keskar, says they are currently drawing up the tender documents to issue to prospective construction companies.

It aims to select a winner so construction can commence in the fourth quarter after India's monsoon season ends, he says, adding that construction will be completed in late 2011.

Keskar says the plan is to be build two aircraft hangars and each one will be able to accommodate one Boeing 747.

This MRO will focus on heavy maintenance work for widebodies, namely Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s, says Keskar, adding that there is no need for it to do narrowbodies because Air India already has its own MRO for this.

The repair station is part of a maintenance and training condition in Air India's December 2005 order for 27 Boeing 787s, 23 Boeing 777s and 18 Boeing 737-800s, the largest commercial aircraft order in India's civil aviation history.

While Boeing is investing in the MRO business in India, Keskar says the airline industry there has too many aircraft on major trunk routes.

He says the recent falls in domestic passenger traffic in India mean there is now 15% over capacity in India.

"On the Mumbai-Delhi route there is 50 one-way flights per day," he says, adding that carriers on that route are charging $25-35 a ticket below cost.

He says the domestic passenger market has bottomed but carriers should deal with over-capacity by shifting aircraft to secondary routes.

Keskar was speaking to ATI on the sideline's of yesterday's IATA AGM in Kuala Lumpur.