Airbus, which is setting up a fully-owned training centre for pilots and maintenance engineers here, today said it has no plans to set up a final assembly line for large commercial aircraft in India in the immediate future. However, Airbus could have an assembly line for helicopters and military aircraft, going forward, CEO Tom Enders said. "We have no plans to put a final assembly line of large commercial aircraft into each and every market.
But on the other hand, I would acknowledge too that in future, there could be final assembly line for large aircraft," Enders told reporters. "There will certainly be assembly line for helicopters and military aircraft if our plans come to fruition in the not too distant future." Emphasising that an assembly line is just 5-6 per cent value added of an aircraft, Enders said, "We need to be more focused on developing activities and engineering capabilities." Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Airbus India Training Centre (AITC), which along with the Airbus India headquarters, is coming up at the Aerocity - Terminal District of Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here. "We have only scratched the surface when it comes to the growth of civil aviation in India. This training centre will be the first such facility fully owned by us in Asia," Enders said. Speaking at the event, Raju urged the aircraft maker to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the country as well and promised all kind of assistance required to carry out the project. "India's rapidly growing passenger aircraft fleet must be matched by adequate availability of skilled pilots and maintenance engineers," Raju added. Responding to Raju's proposal, Airbus said it is a manufacturing company, "but it been partnering with an MRO company so that the right level of MRO capability is available". "We have also been working with MOCA as to how we can facilitate it so that there is MRO capability available in the country," Airbus President for commercial planes Srinivas Dwarkanath said. The training centre will help augment the talent pool of such personnel and be a force multiplier for the domestic aviation sector. As per estimates, at least 1,600 new passenger and freighter planes will be required in India by 2035. The increase in Indian in-service aircraft fleet will lead to an accompanying requirement of over 24,000 new pilots and maintenance engineers, according to Airbus. The centre will mainly cater to Airbus operators in India and the Asian region. The company has over 250 aircraft in service in the country and more than 570 are on order by Indian airlines. The centre, to be built in a modular concept, is expected to be operational by the end of 2018, with two A320 full flight simulators. "It will start with an initial capacity to train over 800 pilots and 200 maintenance engineers annually," Dwarkanath said.
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