India's Air Deccan and Kingfisher Airlines are looking to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul business in joint-venture partnership with a third party.

Air Deccan chairman Capt G R Gopinath says "we are in talks with several parties" and hopes a three-way deal can be finalised within a few months. He says the new company would probably be around one-third owned by each of the partners and the foreign provider would manage the company.

"We are seriously looking at setting up a joint venture for this. Air Deccan and Kingfisher will allow the partner to be the operator so they can do the work for Air Deccan and Kingfisher as well as have third-party work," he says.

"Air Deccan and Kingfisher have a huge fleet already and a huge fleet in waiting because of our aircraft orders, so that will give a huge boost to anybody to get started."

He adds: "We have had some people who have approached us and we are going to have a dialogue over the next two to three months."

Gopinath names local company Jupiter Aviation, which is Airbus parent EADS's partner in India, as one that talks are expected to be held with, although discussions may be complicated as Jupiter has already agreed to establish an MRO joint venture with Indian Airlines, which itself is in the process of merging with Air India.

He also identifies Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics as possible future partners.

Air Deccan launched services in 2003 as India's first low-cost carrier, while Kingfisher launched in 2005 as a full-service operator. Kingfisher's parent, the UB Group, recently acquired 26% of Air Deccan and is preparing to make an open offer to shareholders for at least 20% more.

Gopinath says Air Deccan and Kingfisher had separately been looking for some time at setting up in-house maintenance capabilities and since they became sister companies they have been assessing opportunities to drive cost and operational efficiencies.

Kingfisher said last year that it may team with government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics and an overseas partner on an MRO joint venture, but no deal was finalised.

The two airlines together operate around 75 Airbus narrowbodies and ATR turboprops and they have dozens more on order. Kingfisher also has Airbus widebodies on order for planned international services.

Gopinath says the carriers currently have their aircraft and components maintained by several international providers, such as Lufthansa Technik and Gulf Aircraft Maintenance.