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No plans of final assembly line for large aircraft now: Airbus

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.

Engine issues will not affect A320neo delivery: Airbus CEO

The delivery schedule of Airbus A320neo planes will not be affected in the long run due to the Pratt & Whitney engine issues, faced by IndiGo and GoAir, the aircraft manufacturer said on Friday. "The engine issues are unfortunate. It is obvious that the engine you are talking about has had some teething problems. I do not see that overtime this will largely impact our deliveries," CEO Airbus Tom Enders said. The government is conducting a review of the snags faced by Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines of Airbus 320neo (new engine option) planes, operated by IndiGo and GoAir in India.

Civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the US engine maker to address the issues within a "specified time". "This is something we are working on with the airline customers, the engine makers and the Indian authorities," he said. At present, there are 21 A320neo planes of IndiGo and GoAir that are powered by P&W engines that have been frequently facing technical snags. Airbus also said that it was confident that the demand for its planes will grow in the near future. "We are, so far, focused on single-aisle aircraft but I am absolutely sure that over time there will also be a shift to the entire product range including our new and efficient long-range planes," the Airbus CEO said.
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