Hyderabad: The operator of Hyderabad airport would lease out 6-12 acres of land to set up a $70-100 million helicopter factory, two executives of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (Ghial) said on Tuesday.
The chopper assembly line will be built jointly by an Indian firm and a foreign aerospace company, said D. Ravindran, chief operating officer, aviation and aerospace business, Ghial. He declined to name the firms.
Mint had reported on 17 February that Anglo-Italian helicopter firm AgustaWestland will seek government approval for a 49% stake in a joint venture with Tata Sons Ltd to set up a final assembly unit for its AW-119 choppers in Hyderabad. It was not immediately clear if this proposed venture would build the factory at the airport.
Work on the assembly line will begin in two-three months, the two Ghial executives said on condition of anonymity.
This is part of the firm’s plans to increase earnings from the 5,495 acres it has at its disposal. Ghial intends to lease out 125 acres—including the helicopter project—in the next three years to aerospace providers, convention centres, aviation academies and similar facilities.
Ghial has leased out 25 acres for an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility to a venture of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd and Jet Airways (India) Ltd, which is likely to cost at least $70 million and expected to be functional next year.
US-based aircraft engine maker CFM International will also start training engineers at the airport from 8 March. Ghial is also in talks with seat manufacturing firms to set up a facility and with GE Commercial Aviation Services to facilitate the maintenance of aircraft returned by carriers after the lease period expires, Ravindran said.