AIESL Receives First Overseas Aircraft In Nagpur

A Kuwait Airways-operated Boeing 777 aircraft pictured in Nagpur where it is undergoing a C check.

Credit: AI Engineering Services

AI Engineering Services recently inducted its first international customer aircraft at its hangar in Nagpur in the form of a Boeing 777 operated by Kuwait Airways. 

The facility, located at the Mihan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) site in the central India region, took the widebody last week to undergo a C check and becomes the first non-Indian carrier to be serviced at the facility. 

A ceremony attended by senior officials from AI Engineering Services (AIESL) was held at the facility on Friday (Sep. 15).  

Sharad Agarwal, chief executive of AIESL says: “Until now AIESL was carrying out major checks of Air India 777 aircraft only but with the arrival of a Kuwait Airways 777 aircraft we are now much more confident that many more foreign as well as domestic carriers shall be sending their aircraft for major checks at the Nagpur facility.”

The facility in the SEZ area of Nagpur was first set up by Air India in collaboration with Boeing back in 2015 as part of an agreement for the purchase of 111 787 and 777 aircraft.

The facility was originally planned to be operated by Boeing but was later handed over to Air India, the country’s national airline. After the privatization of Air India, the facility changed hands and was transferred to AIESL at the prevailing book value. Nagpur was chosen as the maintenance destination due to its advantageous geographical location.

"The Nagpur facility being in SEZ area has tax concessions coupled with the lower labor costs in India, tends to be an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign airlines to get their aircraft serviced here,” Agarwal adds. “AIESL shall also be adding the latest 737 Max type aircraft in its kitty at Nagpur. 

Going forward, AIESL is also planning to acquire European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval for carrying out major checks on 777 aircraft. “Once EASA approval is in place, we expect that the business will grow multifold as leased aircraft which operate in India can also be serviced,” Agarwal concludes.

The transaction was facilitated by Mumbai-based aviation consultancy firm Vman Aero Services, which expects more aircraft to follow soon. “This also indicates the very rich potential of the widebody heavy check expertise of AIESL, which is unique in the Indian sub-continent,” adds Vishok Mansingh, chief executive at Vman. 

AIESL and several other Air India units were not included in the sale of the flag carrier to Tata in 2021. Speculation continues that the former maintenance arm of Air India will be privatized by its government owners in the 2023/24 financial year.