Captain Ajay Chauhan, CEO, GUJSAIL, talks about the plans to develop aviation infrastructure within Gujarat.
The state civil aviation minister has said that Gujarat can be a MRO hub. What are the preparations going on to achieve this?
Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers play an essential role in the aviation industry by assuring the safety and air-worthiness of each aircraft. It is estimated that the global MRO market is worth up to $50 billion. While MRO activities were once mainly the domain of airlines, today many airlines, in order to reduce costs and small parts inventory, are outsourcing maintenance services to third party or specialized MRO companies. MRO providers generally work in the following categories:
Airframe heavy maintenance and repairs: An MRO can offer such capabilities as aircraft maintenance checks, wing installation and repairs, inspection of gear and thrust reversers, cleaning, inspections, repairs, application of corrosion inhibitors, aircraft painting, fuel tank maintenance, repairs, inspections and renovation of aircraft interiors, among others.
Component Services: An MRO could undertake the repairs and servicing of aircraft, engine and avionics components.
Engine maintenance and repairs: Some MRO providers offer various levels of engine maintenance, modification, testing and repair work.
Line Maintenance: Trouble shooting, checks.
The international airport of Ahmedabad, with a supporting presence of industries and plenty of land availability, has an MRO developed by the government.
GUJSAIL recently set up a general aviation MRO in Ahmedabad, with a dedicated hangar near the domestic terminal of the SVP International Airport. The MRO has parking facilities for two aircraft and is equipped with repair shop, store for parts and equipment, offices and other facilities. The MRO has handled airframe heavy maintenance, component services, line maintenance and inspection of private business aircraft and also planes used for other purposes. A Legacy 650 was one of the first aircraft to come to this MRO.
How many projects are currently in progress and what is their status?
The Civil Aviation department intends to develop new airstrips at Ankleshwar, Palitana, Dwarka, Ambaji, Dahej, Dholavira, Morbi and Rajkot for the development of the trade and tourism in the state of Gujarat. These will also enhance the regional air connectivity within the state and provide an economic and rapid transit within the state.
Is there an interest from private sector to develop these regional airports on PPP basis?
The Civil Aviation department will appoint a consultant for the development of regional airports. The consultant will be appointed by floating a Request for Proposal (RFP) through the empaneled consultant. There are eight major locations in which the government wishes to develop the airstrips for promoting trade & tourism and providing regional air connectivity. The locations are Ankleshwar, Palitana, Dwarka, Ambaji, Dahej, Dholavira, Morbi and Rajkot. The consultant will do the master planning and bid process management for the selection of the developer on PPP mode.
How will all your plans be implemented?
The Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company will act as a nodal agency for the Home Department for the implementation of air borne law enforcement within the state. GUJSAIL will prepare the tender for the procurement of the helicopter with all the latest equipment on board and take care of the operation and maintenance of the helicopter.
Initially, GUJSAIL will procure one helicopter for the state Home Department and we will look at adding more helicopters as per requirements.
Your website also mentions the setting up of an aviation park. Tell us about this.
Civil aviation sector in India has soared to great heights in the last few years. However, the aviation industry´s growth will need proper plan orientation to ensure systematic, sustainable and orderly development. We need to address issues related to safety, security, infrastructure development, revenue models, private sector participation, among others.
Consider the economic factor, The Civil Aviation Department wishes to develop a high-tech aviation park to provide depth and a sound framework for strengthening the aviation sector in the state of Gujarat. This park will provide a good platform for educating the people about the aviation activities; also, they serve very well the private players and investors who wish to know and invest their money to develop aviation in consultation with the government. In the initial phase, the department will require sufficient land in a decent and attractive location.
Tell us about the initiatives being taken or being planned to develop adventure air sports.
The Civil Aviation Department organized an aero sports event on February 6, 2016, at Mehsana Airfield for the development of aero sports activities in the state. At the event, the following activities were conducted for creating awareness among the youth and to give them a an idea about the career prospects in the aviation sector.
On the successful completion of the event, the department subsequently organized a spectacular aero modeling meet at Amrelli on February 19 in which different aero modelers showed off their aero models. The competition made for a jaw-dropping experience for the spectators.
Further, the department is likely to develop an aviation park and create a recreation platform for the public in which they can indulge in their own aero sports activities as a hobby.