Mumbai: Aircraft maintenance and repair firm Air Works India Engineering Pvt. Ltd plans to set up a joint venture for managing and running private jets for corporate houses and high net-worth individuals, a top executive said.
The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company is in talks with private jet owners for the venture, said Ravi Menon, director, Air Works. “The idea is to have a whole range of activities under the umbrella of Air Works,” he said.
The firm will not own any private jets but manage them for clients.
Maintenance facility: Aircraft at the Mumbai airport. Air Works is in talks with private jet owners for the new venture. Vijayanand Gupta / HT
“It will not be a fractional ownership format either,” Menon said, but declined to give more details, saying the talks are at an early stage.
The fractional aircraft ownership model allows multiple people to own a single aircraft and share flying time without having to deal with maintenance and related issues.
In addition to part-ownership of the aircraft, customers can buy extra flying time.
In 2008, Air Works became the first Indian commercial MRO to receive regulatory approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or DGCA, for its facility at Hosur near Bangalore. The Hosur aircraft maintenance facility is the third such facility in the country and the first to be run by a non-airline company.
Engineering firms Punj Lloyd Ltd and US-based private equity firm Global Technology Investment Group each hold a 33% stake in Air Works.
“It makes commercial sense for Air Works as it will have captive clients for repairs and can diversify into new businesses too,” said an aviation expert, who did not want to be identified. “To add, corporates are thinking about selling their planes. But managing a private jet fleet is a risky game.”
India has 166 private jets and 193 private helicopters, according to the Business Aviation Association for India, an industry lobby recently recognized by the ministry of civil aviation.
Companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s biggest company by market value, the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and Ashok Leyland Ltd own private or business jets made by firms such as Bombardier Inc., Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. and Cessna Aircraft Co.