A Word from Editor-in-Chief

A number of proactive steps taken by the Indian government or are being contemplated have provided the much needed impetus to the Indian airline industry

Issue: 2 / 2016By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

The fifth edition of India Aviation 2016 gets underway at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad at a time when the civil aviation sector is gung-ho about the prospects. The show is expected to garner a lot of attention in view of the anticipated announcement of the National Civil Aviation Policy. There is also renewed enthusiasm among the stakeholders, particularly in India, who are looking at collaboration on different fronts with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

On its part, the Indian civil aviation industry is set on a high growth trajectory and it is expected to be the third largest in the world in a few years time. In fiscal 2015, airlines in India carried 81.1 million passengers and the government is hoping that there would be a sale of 300 million tickets by 2022, a big jump from the 70 million domestic tickets sold in 2014-15. This will be possible if the air fare, especially on the regional routes, is brought down to an affordable level.

This issue is dedicated to India Aviation 2016 for which SP Guide Publications is the Official Media Partner. R. Chandrakanth has in the India Aviation curtain-raiser outlined the aviation scenario in India from the perspective of airlines, air cargo, airports, MRO, general aviation / business aviation, training, etc., and states that the aviation industry is on the cusp of major transformation, despite murmurs that the global civil aviation community is experiencing a slowdown in the industry. In contrast, the airlines in India, thanks to steep fall in aviation turbine fuel which is making the airlines look healthy and they only need to get their act right to sustain for the long run.

The emphasis of the government is on regional and remote air connectivity and it is encouraging to note that the southern region has shown the lead by three regional airlines. They are using a combination of jets and turboprops. Brazil’s Embraer is making a strong pitch for ‘right size’ aircraft to develop the regional markets. The company achieved a milestone on February 25 when it rolled out the E190-E2, the first E2 jet, Embraer’s second-generation of the E-Jets family symbolising another step into the future. The world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jets up to 130 seats announced that the aircraft’s maiden flight would happen in the second half of 2016, with entry into service scheduled for 2018.

In the segment of business and general aviation, the opportunities are great in India, but a misconception that business aircraft is a luxury and not a business tool is hampering its growth. Efforts are on by industry associations and others to educate the powers that be that business aviation is a business tool, adding substantial value to an enterprise. It is not a rich man’s toy.

On the engines front, CFM International ran an interesting programme on leap years day, thus underlining how the technology is right up there when it comes fuel efficiency and more. The LEAP engine programme is moving forward and the engine is expected to enter the market later this year.

While the prospects for the global civil aviation industry appear bright, a new threat that is emerging for civil air traffic is from unmanned aerial vehicles that are being employed increasingly for non-military applications. This issue carries an analysis of the problem by Group Captain B. Menon. Meanwhile, there are serious talks on producing a combat aircraft in India for which the country would be roping in OEM partners. Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) has analysed the scenario and mentions that for licensed manufacture of a combat platform in India there are a number of options available.

All these and more in this special issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and do visit us at Stall 27-28 in Hall A at India Aviation 2016!