M&M to launch 8-seater utility aircraft soon in domestic mkt

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (PTI) The auto major Mahindra Group plansto launch the Airvan, an 8-seater utility aircraft shortly inthe domestic market.

"We plan to launch the aircraft - the MahindraGrippsAero GA8 TC 320 Airvan - in the domestic marketshortly," Mahindra Aerospace executive director and chiefexecutive Arvind Mehra told reporters here today.

The company has already applied for regulatory approvalslike certification, etc, Mehra told newsmen after GrippsAeroGA8 TC 320 Airvan, which has already circumnavigated 21countries, made its maiden landing at the Juhu air-strip here.

The company has an ambitious plan of launching a rangeof small segment aircraft such as a 5-seater, 8-seater,10-seater and an 18-seater in the country, Mehra said, addingthere is good potential for these aircraft here.

Aircraft like the GA8 TC 320 Airvan are quite usefulfor difficult terrains because of their capability to take offor land at very small air-strips, he said.

"Besides, we are also looking at this aircraft foremergency medical evacuation services and point-to-pointconnectivity as well as in other operations like charter andsurveillance services," Mehra said.

Last year, Mahindra Aerospace jointly with Kotak PEhad acquired a controlling stake in two Australian aerospacecompanies--Gippsland Aeronautics (Gipps Aero) and AerostaffAustralia. While Gippsland Aeronautics is into aircraftmanufacturing, Aerostaff is into manufacturing aircraftcomponents.

The Airvan is a unique 8-seater multi-role aircraftthat can be deployed both in passenger and freight services.

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