Air Works India Engineering, India’s first independent maintenance, repair and overhaul provider, has signed an exclusive agreement with Pune-based automobile stylist Dilip Chhabria to address the interior refurbishment needs of business aircraft owners in India. This is the first time such a service is being offered in India and the work will be done with Chhabria’s company, DC Design. Refurbishments will be carried out at the Air Works facility in Hosur near Bangalore, where the designer will supervise the process. A prototype of an aircraft’s interior designed by Chhabria was unveiled at the India Aviation show in Hyderabad.
Business aircraft manufacturers have been receptive to the idea. “I think it’s a great idea. It should be cost effective and for warranty work will make it easier for a customer to go to an Indian city,” said Scott McMurray, Asia Pacific sales director for Boeing Business Jets.
“To begin with, we will not refurbish complete aircraft. We will start with changing carpets and upholstery as these will be EASA approved and come with a burn certificate,” said Air Works marketing director Dhiraj Chhabra.
The market for general aviation aircraft interiors in India is approximately $150 million a year. Air Works has a business plan for the new venture. Of the approximately 100 aircraft it maintains, it expects 20 will require refurbishment every year. “For us the opportunity is greater as we can do avionics, retrofits and systems integration for equipment such as in-flight entertainment and broadband because the aircraft will be stripped in any case,” said Chhabra. “We are good at what we do, but have limitations,” said Chhabra. “We tapped Chhabria because he has the ability to conceptualize and the ability to absorb individual tastes within the limitations of the supplemental type certificate. He understands our customer type having designed luxury automobiles.”