US aerospace major Honeywell is engaged in discussion with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to manufacture engines for civil transport aircraft in India, a senior HAL official said.
"They are talking of transferring a production line of one of their global engines....Civil aircraft engine...For their smaller transport aircraft," Bangalore-based defence major's Managing Director (Bangalore Complex) AK Saxena said.
He expects the discussions to lead to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two firms.
Saxena said global aerospace major Pratt and Whitney is in dialogue with HAL to enter into a broad-based partnership agreement covering areas including energy, research and development and manufacturing.
HAL had already inked a pact with Pratt and Whitney Canada (P&WC) for an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre in Bangalore.
He said in the industrial and marine gas turbine area, HAL intends to go in a very big way and is looking for partnership with leaders including GE and Pratt and Whitney.
HAL is bullish on MRO opportunity. "We have never been in civil aircraft MRO business. This is going to be one of our key business areas. We intend to get into it in a bigger scale".
He said the number of civil aircraft flying in India is expected to go up from the current 250-plus to nearly 600 by 2011-2012. "All the aircraft will need servicing. MRO is going to be a very big business", he said.
"India will have an edge on cost. I believe aircraft from US and Europe will fly all the way to India for servicing. We are getting into export in a big way," he said adding, "we will export components to P&WC". He said HAL has a "very good" order book position.
Saxena said HAL would recruit 500 management trainees this year, a similar figure as last year. "Attrition is high; young engineers are leaving us. We are making good by inducting more and more people".
He ruled out introducing voluntary retirement scheme in HAL, saying the defence PSU, in fact, is short of experienced people. "That's why we have been exhorting the private industry to participate in our programmes".