Global aviation cos' India hub plans may create 6 lakh jobs over 10 years BANGALORE: As top aviation companies such as Boeing and Airbus intensify efforts to leverage India as their maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub, experts say it will create around 600,000 new jobsfor skilled professionals in the country over next 10 years. Plane servicing costs in India are $30-35 per man-hour in India, almost half of around $60 in other locations, attracting more companies to expand and establish their MRO centres in the country. Boeing, Airbus, Malaysian Airlines, Lufthansa Technik, SR Technics, Singapore Airlines and Timco are among companies, which have either set up an MRO of their own, or are in the process of identifying a local partner for the same. “With the current fleet size expected to reach 612 planes by 2015 from around 391 currently, these MROs would create 600,000 jobs within the next 10 years,” said Chethan Kambi senior research analyst for aerospace and defence practice at Frost and Sullivan. Bombardier, Embraer, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are also exploring MRO opportunities in the country. The Indian commercial aviation MRO alone is expected to reach $1.06 billion by 2015, and the maintenance cycle and MRO service requirements in India are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5% between 2009 and 2015, according to Frost. In order to address this lucrative opportunity, many local Indian companies are forming joint ventures. For instance, GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL), and MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, have set up a 50:50 joint venture airframe MRO company in Hyderabad. “The initial investment in this project would be more than $50 million,” said D Ravindran, COO, aviation and aerospace business at GHIAL. “To start with, the airframe MRO would create nearly 200-250 jobs from the date of operations of the facility. This would gradually ramp-up to anywhere between 500-600 jobs,” he added. State governments are also gearing up for the MRO opportunities by establishing dedicated zones. “A 1,000-acre for MRO and aerospace ‘park’ will be developed near the international airport at Devanahalli,” said KS Shivaswamy, managing director of the industries facilitation cell, Karnataka Udyog Mitra. People familiar with investments in Karnataka added that Jupiter Aviation and HAL have already acquired land for MRO purpose. “We will start building $100-million MRO centre in Nagpur next year,” said Boeing India president Dinesh Keskar. Rival EADS, which owns Airbus, is also planning to set up its MRO in Delhi by investing around $40 million. Air Works India Engineering is also planning to invest $120 million in MRO in next three years. “The MRO demand is not only for commercial airlines, but also for executive aviation,” said Jose Eduardo Costas, vice-president for executive jets at Brazilian planemaker Embraer. Asia’s 800 business jets, or 12% of the total world population of business jets, will double in 10 years with a growth rate of 9%. “India and China will respond two-thirds of this and so there will be an increasing need for many MROs,” said Mr Costas. To support the operations of the growing number of its Phenom business jets and legacy 600 customers in the country, the world’s fourth-largest airplane maker appointed Indamer Company as an authorised service center. However, despite an exponential growth projected for MRO business in India, the country has still not sorted out certification issues related to training of the required workforce. The certification, given by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is not yet comparable with mandatory European standards. DGCA is now in the process of making its certification equivalent to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is mandatory for MROs to serve the international airlines.