Air India Engineering prepares for independence with GTF

MRO providers such as Air India Engineering Services are looking to grow their share of India's domestic aftermarket.
Credit: Air India Engineering Services

The privatization of Air India has proved to be a tortuous process, with few investors willing to take on a debt-laden flag carrier riddled with inefficiencies.

To sweeten the deal, India’s government has offered to assume about half of the airline’s gargantuan $8 billion debt.

This would be hived off into Air India Assets Holding along with Air India Engineering Services (AIES) and certain other non-core businesses.

This might appear to be a show of poor confidence in the marketability of the MRO arm, but, undeterred, AIESL is pressing ahead with adding new engine overhaul capabilities for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100 geared turbofan.

“The GTF engine provides us with the opportunity to showcase our capabilities and establish AIESL as one of the premier engine MROs in Asia,” said HR Jagannath, CEO of AIESL.

From its Mumbai facility, AIESL will serve Indian geared turbofan operators; indeed, it has already received its first engine.
The plan is for it to gradually ramp up its capabilities on the engine phased approach, starting with engine upgrades and module exchanges.

Pratt & Whitney and its customers will hope such development proceeds quickly, since the geared turbofan continues to experience problems in the country.

Last November, for example, budget carriers Indigo and Go Air were ordered by Indian regulator the DGCA to replace older, unmodified versions of the PW1100G across their Airbus A320neos fleets – which account for most of the geared turbofan-powered A320neos in India – following several in-flight shutdowns of aircraft with the older engines.

The deadline for that work had been set for Jan. 31, although that has reportedly been extended to the middle of this year.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.