Can Indian aviation industry think big?

By: Ashok Sanmani
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In last six months I read two success stories of two small countries (Switzerland and Japan) made their footprint stronger in aviation field.

Pilatus newly designed and developed PC-24 took off on its maiden flight on May 11, 2015, at 10.00 local time at regional airport in the town of Buochs in the Canton of Nidwalden in Switzerland.

Aero India

The aircraft was flown in command by an experienced pilot Paul Mulcahy, who has 11,000 hours under his belt. He flew PC24 aircraft across central Switzerland for a total of 55 minutes. Pilatus claimed air PC-24 aircraft also has some new features compared to similar flying aircraft in its category.

Oscar J Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pilatus, said: "It's an emotional moment for sure, and another major milestone in the Pilatus and Swiss aviation history".

He also said: "Seeing our new business jet take off on its maiden flight is something we've worked very hard for, and dreamt about for a long time. Today, at last, that 'Swiss Dream' became a reality!"

The amazing thing we need to observe here, just under 1800 Pilatus staff, who were directly or indirectly involved in the PC24 project.

When Japan rolled out its first commercial aircraft

On the October 18, 2014, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rolled out Japan's first commercial aircraft. I am quoting two important points:

  • Hideaki Omiya, the chairman of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said: "This has been a long-held dream of ours, and one that all of Japan has waited for"
  • Have a major work-share on the US plane maker's 777 and 767 aircraft and build 35 per cent of the carbon composite 787 Dreamliner. That work employs 22,000 people or two-fifths of Japan's aerospace engineers.

It can be noted here that Japan failed in its last attempt to break into the commercial aircraft market in the 1960s. Now MRJ said that, MRJ's development is a symbol of national pride.

After I read both the news one thing found common to me was, both countries and companies had ‘Passion' and ‘Pride' to ‘achieve' and prove' to world something better ‘up-to' or ‘exceeding' their capacity.

In India

Coming to India, there are few government agencies who are involved in design, development and manufacturing aircraft, who have reasonably good infrastructure and talent.

Apart from the government agencies there are quite few private companies who are in to this business, basically providing services in the business like design, certification, manufacturing and after-market areas.

Each major private player claims that, they have at least more than 1,000 people/staff and medium scale companies claims at least 60 to 70 percent major companies strength, who have gained international experience and exposure by working with the global companies.

Indian aviation industry has covered a journey of 50-plus years with few successful programs built. Why can't Indian companies think differently to do something independently in aerospace filed? I also feel that, Government of India should take some initiative in this at quicker speed.

But one thing is sure the companies and people must work with ‘Passion and Pride'. Because, there is a big difference between people who just work and people who work passionately.

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