Pawan Hans signs deal with HAL for helicopter maintenance centre


HAL and PHL signing the MoU for MRO business at the on-going India Aviation 2016 in Hyderabad in the presence of Mr. Ashok Gajapati Raju, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL (to left of the Minister) Dr. B.P. Sharma, CMD (PHL, to the right of the Minister)

Indian state aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and operator Pawan Hans have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a joint venture to carry out helicopter maintenance. Based at a facility at Rohini Heliport in Delhi, the partnership will involve carrying out maintenance work on a wide range of both civil and military helicopters, likely to focus on current and past models produced by HAL, and the helicopter types already operated by Pawan Hans.

The announcement was made at the India Aviation 2016 event at Hyderabad last week. Both companies will assign staff to a joint working team to contribute to detailed studies and business plans.

As a future incentive to investors, it is understood that Pawan Hans initial public offering (IPO). This offering is expected to include an expansion of its existing seaplane operation, and various new income streams such as heliport and helipad operations, operation of small fixed-wing aircraft and the establishment of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) division.

Government-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation currently owns 49% of the company, with the Indian Government directly owning the remaining 51%. The government has agreed to convert a loan to Pawan Hans to an equity stake in order to further ease the IPO through the capital markets. While this will take its direct holding up to 69%, according to a report in  the Economic Times, any further interest will be waived.

The loan dates back to 1986, and was initially for 130.91 crore rupees ($19.3M). Over the next 15 years, a total of 339.31 crore rupees ($50.0M) of interest accrued at which point the government stopped charging interest. The loan and interest balance of 470.22 crore rupees ($69.3M) will now be written off as a result of the the share deal.

Pawan Hans has a fleet of 43 helicopters, including 17 365N Dauphins, 15 365N3 Dauphins, 3 Mi-172s, 3 LongRanger IVs, 3 Bell 407s and two 350B3 Squirrels. It also operates six HAL Dhruv helicopters for the Indian Border Security Force. The company has plans to add a further 20 helicopters over the next four years, including 10 in the next year.