Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) service is defined as a process that involves fixing any sort of mechanical, plumbing, or electrical device should it become out of order or broken. It also includes performing routine actions that keep the device in working order. There are two types of maintenance:
In other words, Maintenance may include such tasks as ensuring compliance with Airworthiness Directives or Service Bulletins.
While military aircraft have their own maintenance schedules, commercial airliners generally adopt the MRO procedures listed in the Table.
India has long been a service-driven economy, the beeline of global companies that are setting up shop in the IT and ITeS domain is crystal clear example of this. The latest addition to this bandwagon is Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services, especially in the aviation sector, which has received a boost after the announcement by the Defence Ministry that Rafale of France has been short listed for the supply of fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.
The enormous scope which MRO services offers was highlighted at a conference jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS). Speaking at the conference Air Marshal J Chandra AVSM VSM, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, IAF, pointed out that the market size of Indian Aerospace Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) sector would be USD 1.5 billion dollars by 2020. Projects worth Rs 18,000 crore have already been signed and Rs 40,000 crore worth of projects are in the pipeline in the military domain. These procurements have created a lot of opportunities for the industry. These are historic opportunities and are not going to come in probably next two decades, he said.
Coming to the outsourcing part of the MRO story, there are experts who feel that India can develop into a major MRO hub for the global airlines industry just like Singapore has. Mr S Ravinarayanan, the chairman and CEO of Axis Aerospace & Technologies, which specialises in Engineering Services, Avionics, EW & Testing, Manufacturing and Lifecycle Support, in an interview published in The Economic Times recently, points out that the old Paya Labor Airport in Singapore had been turned into a 100% MRO airport run by Singapore Technologies Aerospace Division, and argues that Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad could be converted on similar lines as it used to be a maintenance base for Indian Airlines' A320s and Avros. The project can attract fleet from South Asia and South East Asia, he says.
What adds interest here is the announcement made by the Union Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee in the Finance Bill 2012-13. In the Bill, Mr Mukherjee has proposed to provide full customs duty exemption from the current 30% to new, retreaded tyres and testing equipment for aircraft, which will be imported by third-party MRO units.
Seen against this background, the MRO India 2012 show scheduled in Mumbai in September would be of significant interest. MRO India 2012 is the 2nd International Networking Conference & Exhibition on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul, scheduled from 25th to 27th September 2012 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. The event is being jointly organised by India's leading aviation publications Indian Aviation and The STAT Trade Times, which focus on the emerging MRO activities in India. The Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, has extended formal support to the event.
The exhibition would provide a platform for the players from the Industry to discuss, debate exhibit and showcase their products and services to the Indian aviation industry. The stake holders of the industry from all over the world, including policy makers, regulators, manufacturers, users - civil and military, legal experts, consultants, IT experts, training organisations, MRO domain experts, and senior government officials would be taking part in the event.
Coming as it does days after Parliament would have cleared the Finance Bill, the event would, it is apt to use the cliché, clear the decks for the Indian MRO industry to fly higher and higher.
(Article is a compilation based on inputs from Wikipedia and other features available online).
|A Check||This is performed approximately every 500 - 800 flight hours. It needs about 20 man-hours and is usually performed overnight at an airport gate. The actual occurrence of this check varies by aircraft type, the cycle count (takeoff and landing is considered an aircraft "cycle"), or the number of hours flown since the last check. The occurrence can be delayed by the airline if certain predetermined conditions are met.|
|B Check||This is performed approximately every 4-6 months. It needs about 150 man-hours and is usually performed within 1-3 days at an airport hangar. A similar occurrence schedule applies to the B check as to the A check. B checks may be incorporated into successive A checks, ie: A-1 through A-10 complete all the B check items.|
|C Check||This is performed approximately every 15-21 months or a specific amount of actual Flight Hours (FH) as defined by the manufacturer. This maintenance check is much more extensive than a B Check, as pretty much the whole aircraft is inspected. This check puts the aircraft out of service and until it is completed, the aircraft must not leave the maintenance site. It also requires more space than A and B Checks - usually a hangar at a maintenance base. The time needed to complete such a check is generally 1-2 weeks and the effort involved can require up to 6000 man-hours.|
|D Check||This is - by far - the most comprehensive and demanding check for an airplane. It is also known as a Heavy Maintenance Visit (HMV). This check occurs approximately every 5-6 years. It is a check that, more or less, takes the entire airplane apart for inspection and overhaul. Also, if required, the paint may need to be completely removed for further inspection on the fuselage metal skin. Such a check will usually demand around 40.000 man-hours and it can generally take up to 2 months to complete, depending on the aircraft and the number of technicians involved. It also requires the most space of all maintenance checks, and as such must be performed at a suitable maintenance base. Given the requirements of this check and the tremendous effort involved in it, it is also the most expensive maintenance check of all, with total costs for a single visit being well within the million-dollar range.Because of the nature and the cost of such a check, most airlines - especially those with a large fleet - have to plan D Checks for their aircraft years in advance. Oft-times, older aircraft being phased out of a particular airline's fleet are either stored or scrapped upon reaching their next D Check, due to the high costs involved in it in comparison to the aircraft's value. On average, a commercial aircraft undergoes 2-3 D Checks before it is retired.|
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