Commencing a new chapter in the burgeoning global Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) business and putting the capital into the list of global off-shoring MRO destinations, the Rs. 110 crore MRO of the national carrier Air India was commissioned in the vicinity of Thiruvananthapuram international airport on Friday.
Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi lighted the traditional lamp and unveiled the plague to inaugurate the MRO that was set up on the 6.07 hectares of land given by the State free of cost at Chakka to the national carrier at Chakka.
Minister for Ports and Excise, K. Babu, Shashi Tharoor, MP, Director of Engineering, Air India, K M. Unni, Chief Operating Officer of the Kochi-based Air India Express S. Chandrakumar and Chief Engineer, AIE, H. R. Jagannath were present.
With the commissioning of the state-of-the-art MRO, the national carrier will be able to take care of all the engineering requirements in house initially of Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Air India Express, the no-frills airline of the national carrier. All engineering checks from transits to “C’ can be undertaken in the MRO that has 5000 sq.m of workshop, ware house and office space.
Later, addressing the gathering, the Union Minister said the operational efficiency and the often heard complaints of flight delays of Air India Express and Air India can be avoided with the opening of the new facility in the state capital. The aircraft repair and maintenance will be carried out here instead of waiting for engineers rushing in from Mumbai or sending the aircraft to the MRO in Mumbai.
“It is a milestone in the aviation history and a feather in the cap of the capital’.
Mr. Ravi said the MRO will create job opportunities for many and instructions had been given to those managing the MRO to recruit local people to the unit here. “There will be less transfer from Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram. The locals will get priority in the recruitments”, he said.
Pointing out Air India was passing through a crisis period, the Union Civil Aviation Minster said the daily income of the national carrier had doubled due to the overwhelming support of the staff and the operating crew. Mr. Ravi said the fleet acquisition of the national carrier had enabled the airline to keep float even in difficult times.
Though there are criticisms about the fleet acquisition, 82 aircraft had helped the aircraft to operate the flights within the country.
The Minister said the AI staff and the people should help the national carrier to overcome the crisis and clear the debts and restore its old glory. Mr. Ravi said steps have been initiated to commence the full-fledged functioning of the Air India headquarters in Kochi.
Dr. Tharoor, who presided over the function said the MRO that has come up in the state capital after the one in Mumbai will emerge as a money spinner for the national carrier once the third party business is obtained. He hoped that the national carrier will set up more back offices in the MRO once the state makes available more land in the Chakka premises.
Mr. Babu, who was the guest of honour, said making available more land for the MRO and the development of the airport was a challenge as the local are opposing land acquisition. The Government is ready for coming out with a package for those losing the land for the development of the airport, he added. The controversies over the inaugural function of the MRO should have been avoided and the Civil Aviation Ministry is not to be blamed, he added.
Mr. Jagannath told The Hindu that the first aircraft is expected to enter the hangar by next week for the phase checks as the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had already given the clearance. The MRO is to get the clearance from the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services.
The second hangar of the MRO will be ready for receiving the aircraft by January middle, he added.
Around 150 personnel will be taking care of the engineering and allied activities in the MRO. Of them, 30 will be Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (skilled) and 50 will be mechanics (semi skilled). Already, these personnel are on the rolls of the national carrier and had been trained. The cleaning and other jobs will be outsourced and the locals will get priority in the recruitment, he added.
News Sourced from “The Hindu” dated 16.12.2011
Video Courtesy Mathrubhumi online