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Top aviation firms to generate 6 Lakh jobs in India

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Bangalore: As top aviation companies such as Boeing and Airbus intensify efforts to leverage India as their maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub, experts say it will create a large number of jobs for skilled professionals in the country over next 10 years.

"With the current fleet size expected to reach 612 planes by 2015 from around 391 currently, these MROs are expected to create 6,00,000 jobs within the next 10 years," said Chethan Kambi, Senior Research Analyst for Aerospace and Defence Practice at research firm Frost and Sullivan.

Plane servicing costs in India are around $30-35 per man-hour in India, almost half of around $60 in other locations, attracting more firms to expand and establish their MRO centres in the country, reports Times of India. Boeing, Airbus, Malaysian Airlines, Lufthansa Technik, SR Technics, Singapore Airlines and Timco are among companies which have either set up an MRO of their own, or are in the process of identifying a local partner for the same. Bombardier, Embraer, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are also exploring MRO opportunities in the country.

The Indian commercial aviation MRO alone is expected to reach $1.06 billion by 2015 and the maintenance cycle and MRO service requirements in India are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5 percent between 2009 and 2015, according to Frost and Sullivan.

In order to address this lucrative opportunity, many local Indian firms are forming joint ventures. For instance, GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL), and MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines have set up a 50:50 joint venture. "The initial investment in this project would be more than $50 million," said D Ravindran, Chief Operating Officer, Aviation and Aerospace Business at GHIAL. "To start with, the airframe MRO would create nearly 200-250 jobs from the date of operations of the facility. This would gradually ramp-up to anywhere between 500-600 jobs," he added.

State governments are also gearing up for the MRO opportunity by establishing dedicated zones. "A 1,000 acre MRO and aerospace `park` will be developed near the international airport at Devanahalli," said KS Shivaswamy, Managing Director of the industries facilitation cell, Karnataka Udyog Mitra. People familiar with investments in Karnataka added that Jupiter Aviation and HAL have already acquired land for MRO purpose. "We will start building $100 million MRO centre in Nagpur next year," said Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar. Rival EADS, which owns Airbus, is also planning to set up its MRO in Delhi by investing around $40 million.

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