Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bangalore: Obscured by the roar of fighter aerobatics at the Aero India 2007 air show in Bangalore from 7-11 February, is the buzz of business being done in a far less glamourous field: civil aviation.
Visitors feast visually on the red-and-white Russian MiG-35 and the American F-18 and F-16 on the display tarmac, but a new generation of moneyed Indian businessmen prefers to inspect the largest display of executive jets ever seen at an air show in India.
The third biggest aircraft company in the world, Canadian manufacturer Bombardier is here, along with US giant, Raytheon, that has brought an unprecedented four executive aircraft to consolidate its 60 per cent hold on the Indian market.
Raytheon vice-president Ted Farid says Raytheon has already sold five jets in three days and the numbers could rise.
Civil aviation is seeing even larger spending than military aviation. Despite last year’s big signings for airliners —- Air India’s $11 bn order for 68 Boeings, Indian Airlines’ purchase of 43 Airbus aircraft for $2.2 billion, and similar purchases by newer airlines like Kingfisher and GoAir —- companies like EADS (the parent company of Airbus) at Aero India eye bigger bucks ahead. EADS pegs India’s demand for airliners at 1100 aircraft, worth $105 billion, over the next 20 years.
These airliners cover just one segment of the market: the metro and inter-city shuttles between 61 airports that are presently connected by scheduled airlines. Flights still do not operate to the majority of India’s 450 airports, 126 of them run by the Airports Authority of India.
11/02/07 Ajai Shukla/Business Standard


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