By Santanu Choudhury/ Bloomberg
New Delhi: European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., the parent of planemaker Airbus SAS, may tie up with India’s Jupiter Aviation and Logistics Pvt. Ltd to build the nation’s first facility that converts passenger planes into freighters.
The two companies are working out the final details of the venture, Ravi Narayanan, chief executive officer of Bangalore-based Jupiter Aviation, said in a telephone interview on 22 May.
A local conversion facility may help Air India Ltd, Deccan Aviation Ltd and local rivals implement their plans of altering passenger planes to cargo carriers. Airbus expects India to buy 134 freight planes by 2025 as demand for transporting goods by air rises in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy.
“This is a big business opportunity,” said Kapil Kaul, the chief executive officer of the India unit of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. “Freighter conversion will cost much less in India than Europe because the cost of labor is cheaper, technology is cheaper.”
Air India, the nation’s biggest overseas carrier, will convert all eight Airbus A310 planes it owns into freighters in the next three years. The carrier will restart its cargo flights after 11 years. Deccan Aviation, the nation’s biggest low-fare airline, plans to convert its turbo propeller planes as it plans to start a cargo airline.
Jupiter Aviation is also in talks with EADS for converting passenger planes into mid-air refueling tankers, Narayanan said. The transportation logistics company, Airbus and state-owned Indian Airlines Ltd will start an aircraft maintenance venture in New Delhi from October.