India’s growing helicopter market is fueling the need for helicopter MRO services, and Indian companies are stepping in to meet the demand.
There are currently 16 operators providing MRO services for helicopters in India, according to the Rotor Wing Society of India. In addition to state-owned Pawan Hans and HAL, other companies providing helicopter servicing facilities are Air Works, India Engg, Deccan Charters, Mesco Airlines, Shauriya, Summit Aviation, AR Airtech, OSS, Indo Pacific, Indamar, Trans Bharat, India International, Indocopters and Heligo. However, the growing aviation sector and government investment in the industry is encouraging investors to set up facilities in India.
Air Works, which currently services the Bell 206, 407, 412, 427 and 429, the AgustaWestland AW109 and the Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin at its facilities in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru, plans to offer “complete repair and overhaul of helicopters by the third quarter of this year,” according to executive director Ravi Menon. Helicopters currently account for 20 percent of Air Works’ MRO business.
Integrated Helicopter Services (IHS), a joint venture between Vectra Group India and Russian Helicopters, launched the first service center for Russian Helicopters in Greater Noida, near New Delhi in February. The company will initially service civil helicopters and then expand to the military segment. The new facility reduces the cost of servicing for these helicopters by more than 40 percent, as they previously had to be flown to Russia for maintenance. There are currently six Russian civil and more than 200 military helicopters flying in India. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has its own maintenance facility, but IHS is seeking the contract to work on rotor blades, which the IAF now sends to Russia for service. Vectra has plans to buy 12 to 15 Kamov-32s and Mi-171s or 172s in the next two years.
Indocopters, a subsidiary of Vectra that recently opened a facility for Eurocopters in Bhubaneshwar, Indocopters has Eurocopter maintenance bases at Greater Noida and Mumbai and is developing its Bengaluru base. The company has plans to develop more bases for its maintenance operations.
Pawan Hans Helicopters is establishing MRO facilities at Mumbai for Eurocopter Dauphins. The company is also in talks with other helicopter manufacturers to set up MRO facilities.
Cochin International Airport (CIAL) announced at February’s MRO India 2011 that it will be building two hangars for MRO services for single-aisle airliners by June. The $18 million facility will have workshops, storage units, parking bays and a run-up bay. CIAL is in talks with Indian and international companies to sell the services of its MRO facility.