NEW DELHI: Soon to be privatised Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) and Boeing may join hands to maintain the two VVIP Boeing-777s used by the president, VP and PM for their medium and long haul international flights. The American aerospace major on Tuesday said it is exploring “opportunities with AIESL for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of critical equipment on key Boeing defence platforms in India, including the P-8I operated by the Indian Navy and the 777 VIP aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force.” The announcement was made at the Boeing India Atmanirbharta in Defence conference here on Tuesday.

Boeing Defence India MD Surendra Ahuja said: “Our planned collaboration with AIESL could position us to provide significant value-add to our defence customers locally by enabling faster turnaround, exceptional operational capability and mission readiness for the Indian armed forces. This is also an important step as part of our commitment to the government of India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision of making India a regional MRO hub.”

AIESL CEO Sharad Agrawal said: “Such collaboration would drive forward our vision for strengthening MRO capabilities in India, for India. We remain excited and committed as we provide critical support to India’s armed forces as part of the Boeing India Repair Development and Sustainment (BIRDS) hub initiative.”

In a statement, Boeing said the collaboration would support the Indian Navy’s growing P-8I fleet, building up the local aviation ecosystem, while ensuring quicker turnarounds for the Indian Navy. It would also help build indigenous MRO capabilities as it would bring the P-8I landing gear repair and overhaul work to India for the first time.

“Boeing India’s collaboration with AIESL would provide further impetus to the BIRDS hub initiative, an in-country network and alliance of suppliers led by Boeing in India that envisions a competitive MRO ecosystem for engineering, maintenance, skilling, repair and sustainment services of defence and commercial aircraft. The hub has been growing capabilities in India in the areas of heavy maintenance, component repairs, training and skilling of MRO maintainers. An important aspect of BIRDS is training programs to increase skilled manpower by developing sub-tier suppliers and medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) to build high quality MRO capabilities in India,” the statement said.