AIESL Eyes MRO Deal with Foreign Carriers, Steps Up Efforts to Attract Long Term Business

Civil Aviation

Mumbai: AI Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL), carved out as a subsidiary of Air India a decade ago to provide engineering services to the national carrier, is in discussions with foreign carriers to carry out maintenance checks on their aircraft at its facilities.

Currently, AIESL’s maximum business (over 50 per cent) comes from servicing Air India’s aircraft, and the remaining from defence aircraft, and other domestic and foreign airlines. AIESL has stepped up efforts to attract new long-term business as Air India is developing its own in-house aircraft maintenance capabilities.

According to AIESL chief executive officer Sharad Agarwal, AIESL is in talks with foreign carriers and expects to conclude some contracts in a couple of months. AIESL is also enhancing its capabilities. Recently, it secured approvals to carry out checks on Boeing 737 Max aircraft at its facilities in Thiruvanathaputaram and Kolkata. Last year, AIESL carried out heavy maintenance checks on 10 Kuwait Airways Boeing 777 at its Mumbai and Nagpur maintenance repair overhaul units. These were the first heavy checks done for a foreign airline since formation of the company.

For the past two years, AIESL’s annual revenue has been around Rs 2,000 crore. AIESL chief executive officer Agarwal expect to end FY24 with a similar turnover. Earlier this week, Air India signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangalore International Airport Ltd for developing MRO facilities. These will include hangars for both narrow body and wide body aircraft for maintenance work, including heavy structural checks. It could take 18-24 months for the airline to construct and operationalise the new facility.

Having placed an order for 470 Airbus and Boeing aircraft last year, Air India is developing its own engineering capabilities – a logical move, given its massive aircraft order. The existing agreements which require Air India to rely on AIESL for maintenance are set to lapse by year end. AIESL itself may be put on the block next fiscal as a part of disinvestment exercise. Thus, Air India has already started carrying out routine maintenance on its newly inducted Airbus A350 aircraft after securing regulatory approvals. Maintenance of other aircraft is still being carried out by AIESL

Additionally, Air India is also commissioning an integrated engineering warehouse at Delhi airport, announced last October. The warehouse spread over 54,000 square feet can store a million spare parts, and will help in quick resolution of issues and maintaining on time performance, the airline had said.