Safran to invest $150m in aircraft engine repair unit

13 January 2020

Safran, a France- based group, is planning an investment of USD 150M in India in a new aircraft engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit to cater for its airline customers, according to the company.

Safran and GE Aviation own 50% stake, each, in the US-based CFM International which manufactures engines for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 types of aircraft. Currently, around 220 Airbus and Boeing planes in India are fitted with CFM engines. Additionally, there are 485 planes on order from IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Vistara, which will be equipped with these engines and are expected to be delivered over the period of the next five years.

Competing with engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, CFM International won a USD 20bn order from IndiGo to supply engines for 280 Airbus A320neo in June. The company is planning to set up an MRO unit in India and the plans are, currently, being evaluated following the big order win.

Currently, apart from Air India, which has capabilities for in-house maintenance of aircraft engines, all other carriers send their engines overseas for overhaul and major repairs. A domestic MRO unit will help Indian airlines to reduce costs and save on foreign exchange, besides generating employment for engineers and technicians.

A team of Safran executives visited Air India's MRO facilities in Mumbai a few months ago to check the airline's capabilities. It has been learned that the labour cost in India was half of those in Europe or the US, said Air India executive, and that would make a maintenance unit attractive for other airlines.