Nagpur: US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has signed the much-delayed lease agreement with Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) for setting up a $100 million maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility.
The facility is a joint venture between the aerospace major and national carrier Air India, while MADC, a government agency, has provided the land.
“We have finally signed the necessary papers to live up to the promise made in 2006 that Boeing will have its world’s second MRO with Air India as partner in the city,” Boeing senior vice president Dinesh Keskar said.
“Hopefully, the facility would be functional by end of 2010.”
The 99-year lease agreement is for 50 acres of land, he said.
By end of the current fiscal, Boeing will float tenders for constructing hangars which will accommodate two wide-bodied or four medium-bodied aircraft for maintenance and repairs, Keskar said.
Boeing had decided to set up the MRO in Nagpur as there is ample availability of manpower and land. Most importantly, the weather conditions in the city are excellent for aircraft maintenance and repair works, the official said.
The region has a number of engineering colleges. Therefore, required technical hands in aviation, avionics and aerospace should be available by the time the MRO is ready, Keskar added.
Talking about Air India’s partnership, Keskar said the government-owned airline has placed big orders and already had a large fleet of Boeing aircraft which require periodical maintenance.
The new aircraft being inducted may not require any check for at least two years but in due course when needed Air India will send these planes to the MRO, he said.
“We have asked the MADC, which is developing the cargo hub, to construct the taxi runway to be used by Boeing for positioning aircraft in the hangars. The runway should also be ready by the time MRO construction is completed.”
Nagpur MRO will be the Chicago-based aerospace giant’s only second such facility after Shanghai, China.
Besides Air India, private airlines like Jet Airways and SpiceJet, who own Boeing aircraft, would also use the MRO, Keskar said.
“Initially, we want India-based airlines to get the benefit of MRO and later we will open it for airlines outside India.”
The world-class greenfield facility will have the capacity to service 250 aircraft a year, the official said.
Asked about the employment opportunities accruing from the multi-million project, he said figures are not important.