Airbus, HAL To Partner On India-Based A320 MRO Facility

IndiGo is phasing out its remaining Airbus A320-200 aircraft in favour of large volumes of A320neo variants.

Airbus has signed an agreement to help Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to establish a commercial MRO facility in the city of Nashik.

The agreement, announced on Thursday (Nov. 9), is part of Airbus’ strategy to support Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) growing its footprint in commercial aircraft MRO in India.

The airframe manufacturer says that the building of a new maintenance facility will enable it to support HAL's efforts to service growing MRO demand in India’s expanding commercial fleet focusing particularly on the A320 family aircraft. As part of the agreement, Airbus will provide A320 tooling along with consultancy services to help establish the MRO hangar.

Construction work will commence on the facility in the near future and is expected to be completed by November 2024 after the necessary certifications are obtained from India's regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). 

The facility will cater to A320 MRO needs leading to significant decrease in lead time, improving over turnaround time, and MRO cost reduction for Indian operators resulting increased fleet availability as per demand. 

Speaking on developing a strong and robust MRO ecosystem in India, Airbus’s president and managing director, Remi Maillard, further stressed the importance of development of a strong MRO infrastructure in India.

This agreement follows a recent order placed by Indian low-cost airline IndiGo for 500 A320 aircraft, taking the total number of Airbus aircraft on order by IndiGo to 1,330 aircraft. Such a large volume of aircraft entering the country's has spurred MRO providers into exploring maintenance opportunities to support the fleet growth. In addition to IndiGo, the likes of Air India and Vistara are other notable A320 customers.

“An indigenous MRO infrastructure will not only help airlines streamline their aircraft operations, but also support the government’s aim of making India a global aviation hub,” adds Maillard. He also believes that state-owned HAL, with its expertise in the aerospace industry, is well positioned to trigger the growth of the commercial MRO sector.

HAL chief executive Saket Chaturvedi, adds that the company aims to provide airlines with "an effective MRO solution". 

Apart from the tool packages and consultancy needs, Airbus will also offer HAL an access to its AirbusWorld digital platform offering support, technical data and training solutions. Airbus says this will help HAL scale up the operational efficiency of their upcoming MRO facility.

HAL already has a DGCA-approved three-hangar MRO facility in Nashik, Maharashtra with civil MRO capabilities. HAL is also seeking an EASA approval for the facility with the support of Airbus.

HAL has played a prominent role in the Airbus supply chain for several decades, having produced approximately half of the forward passenger doors for the A320 program since the 1990s.

The Indian Government is also encouraging other OEMs to actively participate in its Make-in-India initiative. This includes increasing their sourcing of spares from local repair and spare parts shops and set up MROs and eventually a final assembly line in the country.