The purpose of selecting the setup of MRO as a project topic is inclination of the personal interest towards management aspect of aviation industry and I also want to pursue advance research in the aircraft and aviation management. The another reason for doing such an intensive research is because it is one of the growing businesses which has a rapid growth specially in the Middle East and South Asian region. Particularly in India, opening such facilities provides additional benefits not only to consumers but also to its producers. This report gives you general idea what and how MRO works and what benefits it provides to the businesses and it's surrounding. This report mainly discuss about MRO facilities in India and there are limited MRO's at present in India which provide helicopter services to oil and gas industry, there is immense scope for establishment of new MRO's that would make use of the available natural resources and would help to improve the economy of nation by generating revenue.
I would like to sincerely thank Prof. Robert Kay, my supervisor at the University of Highlands and Islands, Perth College. I am extremely grateful to him for agreeing to supervise me; for his invaluable guidance, insights and help.
I would like to thank my parents for providing me with the opportunity to be where I am. Without them, none of this would even be possible.
I would like to thank all of my friends for supporting me and for providing me with some memorable experiences.
Maintenance Practices, Drivers and Challenges ...6-8
General Maintenance Practice
Drivers and Challenges
Requirement for setting up an MRO
MROs in India ...9-14
Legal Issues and Regulations Activities in India for MROs
Fleet Details - The Complete Range
GE Aviation and Air India
Chapter 1 - Introduction
This report provides market overview and growth in India and analysis of merits and difficulties faced by MRO and the initiatives taken by the government. From the last two decades, the aviation industry has grown from single plane carrier to giant planes like Airbus A380, while using it for multi-purpose function like travelling, cargo-services and personal travelling etc. And their use is not only restricted to public only, but many corporate sector have their own private jets. According to the Boeing's '2008-2027 Current Market Outlook' the number of private/public jest has risen up to 29,400 aircraft and of those jets 11,440 are owned by the airline operators of Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. If we look over the current corporate sector of Middle East and consider their use of private jets for their businesses, it'll give you a good idea that it covers a big range of private users of aviation industry.
This rapid growth of business to use private jets/aircrafts for their daily use has increased the air traffic as well as attracted governments and private firms to invest in developing or repairing the current existing MROs. The use of the local passenger market is one of the key aspects for driving the Asian aviation industry. And to develop such service industry requires constant updates in services with the good location availability. As the prices of labour in Asian region is low as compare to Europe or America region, and this is a key factor that is attracting the aviation industry to setup the MROs over here, and the weather in this region is also supportive for aircraft services. And according to a news report: 'the number of private user of in the Middle East will grow from 650 to 1000 by 2015, and the three big aircraft carriers i.e. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar have asked for another 325 aircraft to be delivered by next few years'.
So setting up MROs or such services for aviation industry is one of the most emerging sectors, and this also supports in the development of new jobs and boosting the country's economic sector. MRO market is among the rapidly developing sectors of the Middle East .Du e to the growth in commercial, regional, and business markets of aviation the demand for domestic MRO facilities expanded with time. Local skills base has risen which is needed for the maintenance of ever-growing aircraft fleets. With the addition of aircrafts in the fleet of airlines, the need for MRO growth is also increasing but, due to lack of infrastructure facilities like parking bays for flights, well equipped hangars, pilot training, and ATC, India is not able to keep pace with this accelerated growth.
Even though India lacks infrastructure, considering the low cost factor most of the international hubs which run at over capacity outsource the work to India which is emerging as global hub for MRO. Witnessing the rapid growth, many joint ventures are planned between domestic and international players.
The recovery of aviation industry post recession has encouraged public and private organization to endow in MRO. The booming air traffic due to open sky policies also facilitates for setting up a low cost MRO in addition to the domestic market. The intent of MRO operator should be to provide cost-effective and reliable maintenance services to Indian carriers so that they can attract foreign investors also which would help to make more money. Labour intensive maintenance can take place in India due to its low cost labour. The growth in air traffic provides great opportunities for Asia-origin airlines to evolve and set up world class MRO.
Chapter 2 - Maintenance Practices, Drivers and Challenges
Maintenance activities in aircraft counts the activities like repair, overhaul (MRO) or replacement sometimes, which can include works that are scheduled and unscheduled. This maintenance in airframe, engines and in other sub systems might essentially need training, equipment, tools and spare parts. These days it is quite commonly noticed that airlines perform line maintenance and light maintenance when there is no necessity of plane to grounded, to preserve flexibility in maintenance needs and overhauls that needs training and costly equipment, while some others perform third party maintenance but earlier airlines performed their own maintenance which became widespread. It is estimated that the worldwide MRO business is worth between $25 billion to $30 billion per annum, but taking supply into account it may exceed to $50 billion.
General Maintenance Practices
There are 3 primary types of repairing practices:
- Independent repairing,
- maintenance divisions of major carriers,
- original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Large airlines which are fully equipped with gained mechanical advantage, sell the maintenance services to smaller airlines in large scale. Airlines also offer third-party maintenance which was first made in us and next in Europe. They have to manage in-house and third party maintenance services businesses separately which has become a complicated task for airliners. In the MRO's market, OME is also competing share with it. In an overall by increase of demand for new transport, MRO has become a source of revenue. From the other side OME also have advantages like a direct access to spare parts, skilled workforce, and detailed product awareness/knowledge.
The prominent trend of OEM is multiyear service agreements, which airliners are mostly looking for. To enhance a competitive background it has entered in joint ventures along with other MRO providers. They can offer only limited maintenance services though they have inherently benefitted tools, personnel and spares to service their products. Airliners are mostly looking for services by which they can control their cost. To remain competitive, repairing organizations offered a wide range of services and capabilities along with meeting the airlines desire of one-stop service.
Drivers and Challenges
When Opening aviation services or MRO or an international/domestic airport, the first and the biggest problem is to acquire the land or area used for the project. As getting such big area require to do negotiate with the private land owner for the settlement. And for this purposes government has to setup a body consisting of district collector, elected representative of the local areas, and other several peoples. The whole process takes several rounds of meeting to come at some kind of decision between aviation authority and the land owners.
And the one big issue in India when acquiring land is that the local people demands that they should be the part of work force in any of the aviation authority plus in one aviation project in Cochin they issued the taxi permit to local land owners and made them the members of their prepaid taxi services operated by that aviation authority.
One another key problem or task while setting up such giant project is the communication between all the groups and people involved in the project which not only include local people but also includes state government, board members of aviation authority and also the elected body president of local people. A big advantage while developing such services creates jobs for local people; this gives the local area to develop their surroundings. But doing so there is an extra over head i.e. to manage all people and take care of their security, and also having a professional bounding with recruitment agencies. And having such number of people around also concerns the main airport security i.e. the high secure areas etc.
A critical shortage of qualified labour to perform maintenance, and managers to supervise the work done is encountered by the MRO industries. This can be avoided by relying on both licensed and unlicensed contract workers for repair stations and maintenance divisions. By doing this flexibility to cover any unplanned or seasonal maintenance can be achieved.
Spare parts management consists a major portion of maintenance and operating costs. Investing on spare parts will result in expense before any income, thus carriers don't prefer to stocking and maintaining and rather look for OEM's, one-stop repair stations and independent spare provider.
From safety point of view, spare parts industries are facing problem in finding pool of mechanics dwindles including the prevalence of supported unapproved parts (SUP). To solve this Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released outlining procedures for detecting and reported SUP. Some airlines are not willing to take parts unapproved by FAA.
Requirements for setting up an MRO
The requirements of setting up an MRO are:
-There should be a repair manual designed which would detail the procedures to carry out the work.
-A quality control manual should be developed on the lines of the current inspection manual.
-Allows the maintenance away from the base station, if the satellite station is in same country and follows the same managerial control.
-Allows repair stations which have limited scope to develop their own capability list to identify the make and model of the article.
A number of small fixed base operators, are members of National Air Transport Association who debate that they don't have enough resources to fulfil the suggested conditions.
Regulations that affected the code sharing with different foreign airlines: the involvement of the FAA into such code sharing is seldom. Whereas, some other airlines has sent out the audit terms using their own employers with the help of checklist that is developed by them, while others posses their own auditions and DOD which are developed checklist and rest by third party consultants. From maintenance point of view, there is a team that will examine the quality of international carrier's and assures the practices, the modification and repairs data that
Regulations affecting code sharing with foreign airlines: FAA involvement in commercial aviation code sharing is very less. Some airlines has sent out audit terms with their own employers using checklist developed within them, some with their own auditions and DOD developed checklists and others by third party consultants. In terms of maintenance, a team will examine the international carrier's quality assurance practices, record-keeping systems, which repair and modification data sources the carrier uses, facilities, equipment, staffing, and training along with additional areas that are similar to a National Aviation Safety Inspection Program assessment in the U.S.
Chapter 3 - MROs in India
Being one of top emerging businesses in all over the globe, it enjoys the same or even more favouritism in India. And due to the great geographical location of India, it gives a distinctive advantage to build an MRO facility in India as compare to other location. And the existing MRO owner facilitator have a keen eye to open their next facility in India as it provides cheap labour cost and also give
Legal Issues and Regulations Activities in India for MROs
For approval of maintenance organisation all the requirements of CAR 145 and CAR M should be met with.CAR M is applicable for every aircraft that is registered or is flying in India. CAR 145 is applicable to large commercial aircraft operator and multi engine helicopter operator. As we are taking into consideration the helicopters used in oil and gas industry, we would take into consideration the requirements for approval according to the civil aviation requirements 145(CAR 145).CAR 145 harmonises all the maintenance activities that are carried worldwide in organisation having approval.
MRO must have base maintenance of aircraft. It should have hangars spacious enough to accommodate aircraft. It should have components workshop, specialized workshop and bays should be segregated to ensure it is free from contamination. Office accommodation should be there for maintenance and certifying personnel. Working environment should be appropriate for example; working temperature should be maintained such that the maintenance engineer can be comfortable. Dust and any other contamination should be kept to minimum.
There should be enough light so that the maintenance is carried out effectively. Noise should be minimum. Proper storage facility for components, tools and materials should be available. Stores should be maintained such that serviceable and unserviceable items are kept separately. Manufacturer's tools, equipment and materials should be used by the organisation unless alternative means is permitted by DGCA. These tools and equipment needed on daily basis should be available on permanent basis. Tools and equipments which may be not required on regular basis may not be present at all times in organisation but a proper source should be shown to procure those tools when required. Organisation should maintain records of tools and equipments, especially measurement tools. Components when purchased should come with form CA 1 for acceptance of component. Components when released by another MRO should accompany certificate of release to service (CRS) and CA 1 form. If the component is maintained in the same MRO, only CRS should be sufficient. Components should be classified as serviceable, unserviceable and unsalvageable. Unserviceable components can be made serviceable after repair but unsalvageable items is basically scrapped and cannot be repaired.
According to CAR 145,the very important person in an organisation is accountable manager. Every organisation should appoint an accountable manager compulsorily. He has all the financial authority and has the responsibility of looking after that all tasks are performed according to the rules and regulations. He must ensure that all resources are available for completion of maintenance. He must programme and co-ordinate the safety and quality policy. The person has to be well acquainted with rules and regulations. Nominated person or group of nominated person s is appointed to cover the entire scope of approval. They are answerable to accountable manager. The organisation must appoint a person who would give feedback about the working of an organisation to the accountable manager. Sufficient staff should be there in organisation to perform and supervise maintenance, inspection and quality monitoring. Staff availability should not be less than the work shift requires depending on the amount of work to be done. Components maintenance and certification should be done by 'human factors' principle which identifies capabilities and limitations of a person carrying out maintenance for efficiency. Proper qualified staff should be there which would carry out non destructive testing on aircraft and components. An organisation maintaining aircraft should have certifying and support staff. CAR 145 has the provision of 'one off certification' in which any person of CAR 145 approved organisation in any country can maintain the aircraft provided the person has five years of working experience and valid ICAO license. A person must be appointed in quality system which shall maintain the records of all certifying and support staff. These records should be preserved for two years after certifying staffs has ceased employment.
Pawan Hans maintains and service the helicopters in India, which is the only largest provider in the whole country. It provide services to state governments and its one of the main clients are Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) sector, to whom they provide services it their off-shore locations, as well as being the first operator of private chopper services they also give their services in remote areas and also helps in promoting tourism sites. It is a government owned enterprise with half share given to ONGC. They provide maintenance assistance for :
- Off Shore operations;
- Inter island transportation;
- Connecting inaccessible areas;
- Customs and pipeline surveillance;
- Casualty and rescue work;
- Charter services;
- VIP transportation;
- Film shooting and aerial photography;
- Flower dropping; and other
- Customized services.
It has grown into one of Asia's largest helicopter company that maintains and operates by offering wide range of services to its clients through its fleet of 40 helicopters. The well-balanced and young fleet of 40 helicopters at PHHL includes :
The high-performing medium-weight multipurpose twin-engine helicopter SA-365N Dauphin is a versatile 11 passenger seat helicopter of potent and dependable design which uses modern composite technology and Fenstron tail rotor system. It is ideal suited for transportation of VIP, vacating people from emergency situations, onshore/offshore operations, this helicopter forms the largest number in PHHL's young fleet.
PHHL fleet is fully deployed and there is significant demand for helicopters from various sectors. In view of the growth potential, PHHL is in the process to enhancing its fleet size.
Fleet Details - The Complete Range 
They consist of different range of choppers so they can cope up with the needs and requirements of their clients, their fleet consist of around 40 helicopters, which includes:
- 18 x Dauphin SA 365N
- 10 x Dauphin AS 365 N3
- 3 x Bell 206 L4
- 2 x MI-172
- 4 x Bell 407
- 3 x AS 350 B3
This machine was first introduced on as flying device on March 31, 1979, and in 1982 they started it usage for MRO purposes. It is considered as the improvised version of SA 365C Dauphin 2, and it was compact with a large tail area with good transmitter, having main rotor and engine cowlings. And it was the first one to use 492kW(660 shp) Ariel 1C turbo shafts, and initially it had M.T.O.W of 3850 kg which was later increased to 4000 kg.
AS365 F Dauphin rescue helicopter
AS365 N3 Dauphin
It was considered to be having features like a 10 bladed composite Fenstron torque device asymmetrically distributed blade, which helps reduced the noise, they were designed to survived in the extreme climatic conditions like very hot or at extreme heights. They are still serving the industry, but it first made into markets on December of 1998. It weighs about 4300 kg. They are mainly use for onshore/offshore operations like personal transportation or for rescue operations; they are equipped with 11 passenger seats with a twin engine with all the latest gadgets of avionics.
Bell 206 L4
It is considered as part of family having 2 bladed, single/twin engines helicopters and they are very light weighted having 5 passenger seats. Their main usage is for corporate transportation, filming/photography and also tourism. They are equipped with Allison 250-C20B engine, the newer version of it with more powerful engine are more common these days like 206L uses a 250-C28, and 206L-3/206L-4 uses 250-C30P with a 490 shaft horsepower.
It is derived from Bell 206L-3 long ranger. It is a single engine with 4 blades helicopter having rigid rotor with a composite hub mainly developed for US Army's, but after that it comes in use for corporate sector, but it is mainly use for civil purposes like ambulance services or law enforcement or by news services.
It is twin engine multi role chopper having 26 seats for passengers and with range of around 480kms, best suited for operations at extreme heights and offshore. It is a Civil Passenger version of the Mi helicopter manufactured at Kazan Plant. This is a Russian designed developed only at 2 places i.e. at Kazan and Ulan-Ude. It is derived from basic model of Mi-8 but equipped with a large TV3-117MT engine, and also includes a transmission device specially developed for Mi-14. It has a specially made fuselage for lifting heavy loads, that's why it is use for export services. It is easily recognizable as its tail rotor is on port side with dust shields placed in front of engine intakes. Its engine cowls are not extended over the cockpit, provide a separate opening for exhaust as it has a bleed-valve outlet.
AS 350 B3
They are high performance machine specially made for working in severe geographical/weather conditions, with an added feature of heavy load lifting, higher endurance with extended range. It has a performance of climbing up to 3000 meters in 2mins 21 seconds, and had an honour of landing on Mount Everest. They are very common as compare to other, and carry out exceptional tasks like high altitude missions or sling works very easily.
Mi-17 / Mi-8M
It is an airline services that uses seaplanes for commercial and tourism within the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is jointly owned by Pawan Hans, this is the India's first commercial seaplane service. The reason for launching such service is to promote tourism by connecting far flung airlines. It operates its services using Cessna 208 Caravan.
The Cessna 208 Caravan is made up of engine which is single turboprop with fixed gear short-haul regional passenger and utility aircraft. The capacity of this aircraft is ranged up to 9 passengers and a crew member.
Cessna 208 Caravan
It's the India's 1st third party aircraft MRO and it deals mostly with commercial planes. Government of India's open skies policy has increased such aviation industry to setup this facilities in India. They make sure to provide the services to airline business to help in smooth running of their business. The services provide by them includes:
- A, B, C and D checks;
- drop-in or line maintenance;
- engines changes with c-1 & c-2 fan changes
The services also includes corrosion prevention, improvement on structural life, manufacturer recommended maintenance.
GE Aviation and Air India
GE Aviation is one of the oldest companies working in the field of aviation providing repair services and they are constantly delivering exceptional services when it comes to repair or maintenance of aircrafts. And due to their exceptional services Air India has signed 20yrs contract with them, which will cover service of GE90 aircraft engines. They both will work together at the Mumbai facility, but the plan to build a new facility in Nagpur by Air India is added advantage for the testing capabilities of GE90.
Air India is providing MRO services for last 40 yrs, making commercial and business aircraft service smooth.
Chapter 4 - Analysis
After reading such articles and finding sites of their location, I might suggest that if the MRO is build near the ONGC sites, it'll reduce cost effectively and being near to these shores might give handy options to use such service easy and in a timely manner.
I have the experience of working in the largest maintenance repair and overhaul organisation in India that is Air India maintenance base in Mumbai. Out of six months of working experience three months were spent in Electronics overhaul department and another six months in major maintenance department (MMD), where I got the opportunity to work on live aircraft. It was a period full of learning. Though learning about such a big organisation in six months was not practical, whatever information the writer received is very useful for understanding the working of MRO. I would like to give an overview of Air India Maintenance base in Mumbai. It has a large covered for major maintenance of aircraft, as it has six hangars in total out of which four are used for base maintenance and two hangars are used in line maintenance. Major maintenance includes complete checking of aircraft or major checks like C-checks and engine run-up, etc. Whereas in line maintenance, only line replaceable units (LRU'S) and small faults are fixed to keeps the flight going. For maintenance of faulty components that are removed from aircraft during maintenance, facility of overhaul shops is available. There are four shops for avionics which include accessories overhaul department, electronics overhaul department, instrument overhaul department and components overhaul department. For mechanical repairs, jet shop is available. It has hot and cold sections where different types of engine are repaired. Another division is quality control and technical services (QCTS) department. Jet shop and QCTS are said to be two major divisions for maintaining airworthiness of aircraft.
Instead of improvement in maintenance technologies there are drawbacks that MRO's are facing even today. There is no proper utilisation of resources and no proper investigation before the flights are just put to scrap (recently happened in Air India).there should be proper planning to make utilisation of aircraft till its full permissible life. There is no proper conduct i.e., the work is not carried out according to the procedures laid down in manual. The tools used are sometimes of the local market to just get the work going which affects the standard of the work done. Proper working environment is not provided to the technicians and hence their performance is not up to the mark. The changes required are that, there should be proper inspection of higher authorities to ensure compliance of rules takes place and the work is done is done according to the standards specified. The resources should be made available so that up to date work is performed. Provision for proper light and ventilation should be made to keep environment suitable for working.
Chapter 5 - Conclusion
The Asian or Pacific region has become a place where air travel is extremely popular and one would find the engineers and technicians to be Indians. This is the reason why the many popular Middle Eastern airlines such as Gulf Air, Emirates and Gulf Air employ Indian engineers who had a past experience in airlines in India. Lower labour charges in India make it the biggest advantage to start a MRO company and this is also the main factor why Boeing and Airbus are considering forming a joint venture in India. There have several offset agreements with the Indian government and also with the local airlines.
Several million dollars are being invested by Boeing in setting up a new MRO in India which is most likely to be located in Nagpur in central India. It is planned to be a joint venture with Air India.
Air India, Jet Airways and Spice Jet are the three airlines are being collaborated with Boeing to use their MRO services which is going have a base of more than 150 aircrafts over the next few years.
Airbus is in the lead in India Constraints for the MRO businesses in India but these are facing with a shortage of land at the major airports. "Infrastructure is saturated and the Airport Authority of India, which controls a majority of Indian airports, allots space like it is auctioning the crown jewels," says an airline official. However, the things are getting changed now because of the privatization of the several largest airports in India like Mumbai and Delhi there is still a hope for MRO getting started.
To overcome the manpower problem Cochin International Airport ltd came up with a innovative idea. It is banking on aircraft engineers of Indian origin who currently are currently employed at airlines overseas by floating an MRO company in which the engineers will take a 49% stake. They initially will come into the business as investors and later may quit their jobs and join the new MRO as employee-investors. Only time will tell if this experiment will work, but with surging traffic, the aircraft maintenance business in India is certainly high.
The development of the commercial aviation MRO market in India will not only provide a benefit to airlines but also increases employment in the country which also increases the country's GDP.
Indian policies and conditions are mostly favourable to MRO setup and operations and although service providers face some problems in terms of taxes and duties but they are expected to become more transparent within next few years. All parts of the MRO chain can be located in the country, but in different time frames, based on the need and ease of setting up the service. MRO service providers will be encouraged by the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) and land allotment for setting up MRO operations. MRO services, as such are strictly defined by market needs. Hence, it will be vital to understand existing fleet details and arrive at the market addressability to design the business model of the MRO," notes the analyst. "Airlines will also be keen to know the MRO's operating/service structure; therefore, the strategy for MROs will be to identify the key segments of the MRO value chain and address the needs of the current fleet and expected fleet additions."
FAA Federal Aviation Administration
SUP Supported Unapproved Parts
FBOs Fixed Base Operators
DGCA Directorate General of Civil Aviation
ONGC Oil and Natural Gas Corporation
HAMCO Hyderabad Aircraft Maintenance Company
MMD Major Maintenance Department
LRU Line Replaceable Units