New Delhi: France’s Safran SA is considering building an engine-repair facility in India. The company has presented the idea post winning its biggest-ever turbine deal last month. CFM International, it’s joint venture with General Electric Co. was selected by Indigo to supply engines for 310 new Airbus SE A320neo family aircraft. The final decision and the timing of any project will be linked to global industry recovery and demand for engine maintenance, repair and overhaul services after the pandemic. A Safran spokesperson said in response to queries.
CFM has shortlisted the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Also, an under-construction airport near the capital of New Delhi as two possible locations. The facility would bolster India’s aviation infrastructure. This will provide a platform for further growth in a key long-term market for Airbus and US rival Boeing.
Carriers in the country were ordering hundreds of new jets in pandemic times. A spokesman for civil aviation ministry didn’t immediately refuse to give any comments. IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., is the world’s biggest customer for Airbus’s best-selling A320neo-family of jets, having ordered 730 of the models.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the country to become the third largest air-transport market in the world by 2026, catapulting from seventh in 2018. Though the pandemic limited air travel globally, the demand is starting to spring back in some places as more people are vaccinated and infection rates ebb down.
India lacks adequate infrastructure for MRO activities, and carriers are often forced to send their aircraft to Sri Lanka, Dubai or Singapore for major work. This is despite the huge market and potential. While MRO work in India generates almost $1 billion in annual revenue, local factories don’t usually work on engines.
The company is finalising an investment plan of 100 million euros for the airport at Jewar. The new airport will be about 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of New Delhi’s main hub. Safran, has almost 600 engines currently in service with Indian airlines.