Good Time for Govt to Take Up - Design and Development of Passenger Aircraft

By: Ashok Sanmani
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Considering present situation and growth of India, it is good time for the New Indian government to think to take some decision on the design and development of passenger aircraft up to 100 seater.

With the recent initiative and drive from the Indian Prime Minister, there is good move on "Make in India" concept. India's situation in manufacturing engineering is much better.

But, India has yet to prove in aerospace design engineering (design; validation; certification) of passenger aircrafts compared to the developments in this sector globally.

Even among the BRICS countries Brazil, Russia and China are much ahead of India and South Africa. It is good opportunity for the new government to think to do something in this area.


All the single-aisle aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer are making their aircrafts keeping India as one of the potential market apart from China. Indian government and Indian companies shall think about this. If India is waiting for good time......What could be the better ideal time than this!

Some statistics:

As per the prediction from the major players there is demand of 35,280 new airplanes between now and 2032. Around 14,350 (41% of the total deliveries) of the new airplanes will replace older, less efficient, reducing cost of air travel and decreasing carbon emissions.

The remaining 20,930 airplanes will be for fleet growth, expansion in emerging markets. Approximately 24,670 airplanes (70% of the new deliveries) will be single-aisle airplanes, reflecting growth in emerging markets such as China, India, and the continued expansion of low-cost carriers throughout the world.

Out of 35,280 new airplanes 12,820 airplanes would be needed by Asia Pacific region which is worth of approximately 1,890 Bn USD. China and India have a major stake in it.

As per the prediction from another aircraft manufacturer, India is expected to require 5.8% of worldwide aircraft deliveries in the 20-149 seat segments which is around approximately 1400 aircrafts.

As per the survey made from Ministry of Civil Aviation India (Strategy Plan 2010-2015). Between 2000 and 2010, air operations Air India have expanded by 160% in terms of domestic passengers. It is expected to grow at a rate of 9-10% per annum by 2020.

Just to pick one example, On 15-Oct-2014, IndiGo announces largest ever Airbus order; to spend $26 billion for 250 A320s.

Who could take it forward:

So for many discussions might have happened about this. It would be good if the government takes ownership rather expecting some private player to own.

The major private companies have done their best so for with the constraints, aspirations and goals they have; and they still have to develop the competencies to join their hands for future global programs.

If government takes up, all the private players shall support based on their strength, competencies and capacity.

Establishing new organization:

If the government takes a decision to design and develop a new passenger aircraft, it would be a good thinking to form a new establishment may be with hundred percent government ownership or government-private partnership.

The new establishment shall be consists of an individuals from government organizations, private companies, Indian nationals from
abroad and it shall also include experts from other nationals with good experience on the international programs (global consultants).

The selection has to be done carefully in order not to repeat the past history. Serious thought process is required to create good working environment organization with focused targets and timelines; backed by R&D labs and testing facilities; good co-ordination with
certifying bodies etc. to design and develop the good quality reliable product.

In my opinion, this opportunity can be utilized to set-up the best-class organization in aerospace engineering within the
country. The company also should master the art of outsourcing as per global procedures.

Individuals of private companies:

Since almost 1999-2000, private companies are involved in some engineering activities in aerospace domain. Few individuals from these companies have got pretty good exposure and experience on the international programs. Identify good engineers, leads, chief engineers, program managers; they shall be part of the new established company.

Provide necessary support and encourage them to take-up more responsibility to deliver better reliable product. These individuals are
better aware of the delta gap between current practices within the country and global expectations. This brings lot of credit to India in Aerospace sector along with some of the below mentioned benefits.

Creation of Employment:

Except professionals and engineers from the government companies (HAL, ADA and NAL) there are quite few private companies who are in to aerospace services business provide job for may be around 18,000 engineers.

With a rough estimation, may be twenty percent of the engineers are involved in high-end technical work and rest may be involved in other type of work which is not that great. But, if India takes up new project this surely creates new employment in aerospace engineering.

Apart from this, provides a great opportunity for Indian aerospace engineers to participate in high-end work, will help to increase the level of expertise and more importantly confidence.

Comeback call for Indian Engineers/Leads:

This also provides an opportunity for the Indian engineers/leads to comeback, those who have gone abroad in search of better opportunities/career growth.

By this time they must have got the better experience which will surely be useful. As said before, approximately ninety plus percent of the people who have gone abroad are technical people.

Universities and Colleges:

Till date, many discussions are happening to minimize the gap between industry and academia. More meaningful collaborations have to happen between the organizations (government & private) and some of the premier universities/ colleges.

The new company should encourage them to take up more real-life engineering problems as a part of their project work/ thesis work, which saves time and becomes asset for the company and the country. This surely gives additional energy to the young students and they shall become potential engineers for the future.

Before Last Bite:

On 18-Oct-2014, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rolled out Japan‟s first commercial aircraft. I am picking two important points from what I read;

1. "This has been a long-held dream of ours, and one that all of Japan has waited for," Hideaki Omiya, chairman of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said.
2. 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.

Note that, before this, 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.

Last Bite:

Whole India witnessed a great moment on 24-Sep-2014 when ISRO sent MOM to MARS. If all stake holders (government, government organizations, private companies, universities & colleges) work together India shall achieve the same milestone in the aerospace industry provided if all work with PASSION & PRIDE which I fell it is missing. There is a big difference between people who just work and people who work passionately. Let us work with PASSION.

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author who is an Aerospace Engineer. Oneindia is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article.]

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