One mega air show in INDIA may be forthcoming

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017

The objective of Regional Connectivity Scheme is to
make flying affordable for the masses, to promote
tourism, increase employment and promote balanced
regional growth. It also intends to put life into unserved
and underserved airports.

Si n c e t h e N a r e n d r a M o d i
government came into power,
a lot of synergies were created
among ministries.

One of them is between the Ministry
of Defense and the Ministry of Civil
Aviation. They are taking this further
by coming on one platform – Aero
India. The recently concluded Aero
India 2017 was one example of their
joint project.

Prior to this, India had clearly
d ema rc a t e d d e fe n ce a n d c i v i l
aviation events – Aero India, held in
Bengaluru, was primarily defense and
India Aviation in Hyderabad was only
civil aviation.

Till this year, the two ministers used to
head to these locations to promote
their respective turfs. But at Aero India
2017, they were together and both
voiced in clear terms that, henceforth,
it would be one show.

The question on everyone’s mind is
whether there will be India Aviation
next year at Hyderabad or not? It is
not clear as yet. Similarly, the location
of the next international air show in
India is not known.

The political machinery has been
busy with elections in different states
and one would have to wait till that
dust settles down.

However, the Minister of Civil
Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, told
this correspondent that ‘See, in Paris
there is one air show for both civil and
military, similarly in Farnborough
(London) it is one air show and they
have marketed them so well. We
need to bring about this convergence
between civil and military due to
many commonalities.”

India to invest heavily in infrastructure
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony,
Minister Raju said Indian civil aviation
was the fastest growing one in the
world, registering a growth rate of
over 20 percent in the last two years.
In the wake of growing civil aviation
sector, our Airports need to grow to
cater to the growing demands.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI)
has decided to invest about US$2.6
billion in the next five years for
improving the existing airports and
that includes creating of airport
infrastructure, air cargo hubs, air
navigation etc.

“If we have to sustain and take
forward the current growth we need
more investments from all sides. If we
are able to sustain this growth we will
be the third largest civil aviation
market in the world by 2022.”
Addressing a joint press conference,
Mr. Raju said the government was
opening up the aviation sector like
never before.

The National Civil Aviation Policy and
s u b s e q u e n t l y t h e R e g i o n a l
Connectivity Scheme (RCS) were
going to be facilitators of phenomenal
g r o w t h . H e u n d e r s c o r e d t h e
i m p o r t a n c e o f b o t h M R O
(maintenance, repair and overhaul)
and the air cargo sector which have a
multiplier effect on the economy.
“ T h e o b j e c t i v e o f R e g i o n a l
Connectivity Scheme is to make flying
affordable for the masses, to promote
tourism, increase employment and
promote balanced regional growth.

It also intends to put life into unserved
and underserved airports,” he said.
It is worth mentioning here that
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has
built a 19-seater civilian aircraft which
could very well be put to good use
under RCS. With e-commerce and
mobile payments growing in India
and regional connectivity improving,
the movement of e-commerce to
small towns would gain traction. The
Minister said while no-frills airports
would come up, the air cargo sector
would be part of the scheme of

Incentives for cargo sector
The government is providing various
incentives for cargo operations under
RCS for up to 10 years from the date of
notification of the scheme. Some of
the incentives are 2 per cent Excise
Duty on ATF (aviation turbine fuel)
drawn for air freighter operations at
RCS Airports for a period of three
years from the date of notification of
the RCS.

As and when the government moves
into GST regime (Goods and Services
Tax), rates will be applicable as
d e t e r m i n e d u n d e r G S T a n d
exemptions/concessions shall be
given as permissible so that such a
reduced level of taxation could ideally
be continued.

Airport operators (whether under the
o w n e r s h i p o f t h e A A I , S t a t e
Governments, private entities or the
Ministry of Defence) are not to levy
Landing Charges and Parking Charges
or any other charge subsuming a
charge for such aspects in future.
Similarly the Terminal Navigation
Landing Charges (TNLC); Route
Navigation and Facilitation Charges
(RNFC) will be levied by AAI on a
discounted basis @ 42.50 per cent of
normal rates. Normal rates refer to
applicable rates specified by the AAI
on its website from time to time
w i t h o u t a n y d i s c o u n t s o r
c o n c e s s i o n s . H o w e v e r , t h e
government has excluded cargo
operations from getting any support
under the viability gap funding (VGF).
While the RCS is to get off the block,
the Civil Aviation Minister’s presence
was significant at Aero India as he was
laying emphasis on cargo and MRO to
build a strong aviation base. The show
did not attract any player either from
the civil cargo and MRO segments.
The Minister said that once marketing
as a single event would commence
t h e n i t w o u l d b e a d i f f e r e n t

Coolport at Bengaluru airport
Nevertheless, there was some cargo
related news at the show. First, Air
India SATS Airport Services (AISATS),
a n a i r p o r t s e r v i c e s c o m p a n y,
l a u n c h e d ‘A I S AT S C o o l p o r t ‘ –
country’s first integrated on-airport
perishable cargo handling centre, at
Kempegowda International Airport,
Bengaluru (KIAB).

The 11,000-square metre facility built
at a total project cost of ?48 crore, was
inaugurated by R V Deshpande,
Karnataka Minister for Large &
Medium Industries & Infrastructure
Development. The AISATS Coolport
has 17 dedicated cold rooms with
temperatures ranging from -25
degree C to 250 degree C, and a
capacity to handle 40,000 tonnes
annually. In the past few years, Indian
a i r c a r g o i n d u s t r y h a s s e e n
tremendous demand for handling of
perishable cargo products.

HAL bags cargo doors order
At the show, state-run Hindustan
Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) received a
fresh order from the Israeli Aerospace
Industries (IAI) to supply eight sets of
cargo doors for the main deck of
Boeing 737.

HAL has already supplied 30 similar
doors to IAI, a Tel Aviv-based leading
s u p p l i e r o f s u b s y s t e m s a n d
components to Boeing. HAL as such
has been making doors for the single
aisle A320 aircraft of the global
aerospace major Airbus Industries
since 2009.

“The IAI’s new order reflects the
confidence reposed by our valued
Israeli customer,” asserted HAL
Chairman T. Suvarna Raju. The
company, however, did
not disclose the value of
the new or the previous
o r d e r s a n d d e l i v e r y
schedule of the fresh one.
Boeing has sold about
6,500 jets in the 737-
200C series worldwide.
“The Boeing 737 aircraft
has the capacity to carry
21,500 pounds of cargo
and 112 passengers,” said
the US-based aerospace major.
‘Make in India’ theme reverberates
Aero India 2017 continued to lay
emphasis on the ‘Make in India’ theme
a n d t h e o r i g i n a l e q u i p m e n t
manufacturers (OEMs) have started
t o e i n g t h a t l i n e . A n A i r b u s
spokesperson said strengthening
‘Make in India’ partnerships would be
the group’s main focus. “The future of
Indian aerospace and defence
industry rests on the realization of the
Make in India vision,” said Pierre de
Bausset, who heads Airbus India.
Airbus has partnered with the Tata
Advanced Systems Limited to set up a
final assembly line for C295W military
transport planes in the country. The
C295Ws will replace the Indian Air
Force’s ageing Avro fleet as part of a
$2-billion program for 56 new planes.
While 16 of these will come in a
flyaway condition, the remaining will
be built in India.

The C-295 can carry as many as 71
passengers or 50 paratroops. It can
fulfill humanitarian aid and disaster
response (HADR) functions since it is
able to carry 24 stretchers with
attendants, or about 20,000 lbs. of
cargo. Another important trait of the
C-295 is its capability to do short field
landing and takeoff.

Reliance is getting into aerospace
and defence sector majorly and it
said that the Dhirubhai Ambani
Aerospace Park, located at the
Multi-modal International Cargo
Hub and Airport at Nagpur
(MIHAN), would most likely be
considered by Reliance Defence
Limited for a new facility to
support its aerospace plans.
Wherever and whenever the single
air show would be held, it would
certainly bigger comprising both
m i l i t a r y a n d c i v i l s e g m e n t s .
Obviously, this would call for greater
and more efficient way of organizing
an air show of such mammoth