Exhorting that the government should encourage profitable entities within Air India, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that its subsidiary Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) should be kept separate from the parent company while making a decision on the flag carrier’s divestment. Gadkari, who is a part of the group of ministers finalising the modalities of the airline’s stake sale, was speaking at an event marking completion of maintenance of first private aircraft at AIESL’s Nagpur facility.
“I would urge to the aviation minister that the subsidiary running the MRO is kept different from its parent, because if a decision on Air India (stake sale) is taken, I hope this company also doesn’t go to some other party. Any business that is profitable should be encouraged by the government,” Gadkari said. The event was also attended by civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani, and SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh.
When asked about Gadkari’s views on Air India’s arm, Raju said: “The discussion on Air India’s divestment is an ongoing process and his comments are welcome. I will not divulge my views on his comments, but if a colleague has given a suggestion it has to be taken seriously.” Raju also said that the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Nagpur has the potential to create “thousands of jobs”, once it reaches its full capacity.
“The FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) are yet to give their recognition to this facility. Once that happens, it will open up for any airline in the world to come here and get their aircraft repaired and overhauled,” the aviation minister said. Besides maintaining Air India’s Boeing aircraft fleet, the Nagpur facility has the mandate to carry out third-party works as well. AIESL is working aggressively to expand its footprint in the high-growth potential MRO segment.