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India's GMR Aero Technic mulls push into widebody maintenance

GMR Aero Technic is considering venturing into widebody maintenance as it seeks to expand its workshop capability.

The Indian MRO operator is looking at possibly maintaining the Airbus A330, as well as the Boeing 777 and 787 types, its chief marketing officer Girish Deshmukh tells FlightGlobal at the MRO Asia event held in Singapore.

For the firm to be able to offer widebody maintenance, it will however first need to train its engineers and technicians to be certified for such works, and to acquire the necessary tools.

GMR now has the capability to conduct heavy maintenance works on narrowbodies such as the A320s and 737s, as well as the ATR 72 and Bombardier Q400 turboprops at its three hangars located at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International airport. These hangars can accommodate up five narrowbodies and two turboprops simultaneously. It could repurpose one of the hangars for widebody maintenance.

Deshmukh says GMR has no plans to venture into engine maintenance since it would require a minimum investment of $50 million, having the necessary expertise, and the transfer of intellectual property from OEMs to the MRO operator. He also notes that engine OEMs have yet to express an interest in setting up such facilities in India.

He adds that Indian MRO operators continue to face personnel issues including lack of specialists, and the poaching of experienced engineers and technicians by Middle Eastern companies. Other challenges include the government's 18% tax on sale of services to foreign aircraft doing maintenance in India.

Despite the hurdles, GMR believes that it has several advantages over its competitors.

Being based at Hyderabad, located between north and south India, presents the firm with good opportunities for new businesses within a four-hour flying radius. Rajiv Gandhi International airport is also within a special economic zone, which means it could pass on some cost savings to customers.

GMR believes that demand for airframe, components, and engine maintenance will grow as Indian operators are set to operate more than 1,500 aircraft by 2028.

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