Having proven resilient to global challenges last year, the European economic recovery is expected to continue this year and next: for the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all European Union (EU) Member States are expected to grow throughout the entire forecasting period.
Hats off to the scientists and engineers at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for showing to the world the space prowess India has developed in less than five decades. ISRO, unlike other government organisations, has really excelled as to its vision and mission, having made significant progress in the frontier of space technology. On May 5, it took another giant leap in that direction when it launched the South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9, a gift to the region.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, besides India will together achieve ‘effective communication, better governance, better banking and better education in remote areas; more predictable weather forecasting, land monitoring and efficient resource mapping; linking people with top end medical services through tele-medicine; and a quick response to natural disasters.’ The Prime Minister who has been applauding ISRO’s efforts said “With this launch we have started a journey to build the most advanced frontier of our partnership. With its position high in the sky, this symbol of South Asian cooperation would meet the aspirations of economic progress of more than 1.5 billion in our region and extend our close links into outer space.”
While ISRO is keeping India’s flag flying high, we have a low-cost private carrier which has shown what it takes to be the largest player in commercial aviation in India in double quick time. IndiGo which holds nearly 40 per cent passenger market share has stepped up on the gas. It is now looking at entering the regional aviation market space and has made a provisional order for 50 ATR 72-600 planes valued at $1.3 billion at list prices. This is the second largest order of ATR aircraft till date, the previous record was from American Eagle for 100 ATR-72 in 1990. IndiGo expects deliveries to commence from the year end and will operate on routes under regional connectivity scheme and also other high demand short routes which are not part of the scheme. The government has already set in motion plans to develop regional airports and in the first round of UDAN bidding 70 under-served and un-served airports have been announced.
On business aviation, Group Captain A.K. Sachdev (Retd) has analysed how new technologies are bringing about new experiences in aircraft travel and that the government should recognize the value of business aviation, while operators will go in for modernisation. The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is excited about the economic prospects in Europe. Having proven resilient to global challenges last year, the European economic recovery is expected to continue this year and next: for the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all European Union (EU) Member States are expected to grow throughout the entire forecasting period (2016, 2017 and 2018). And one of the indicators of trends in business aviation is the iconic event of EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition) which is round the corner in Switzerland. Business aircraft manufacturers will be vying with each other to display the latest and in the forefront is Dassault Aviation with its family of Falcon jets.
Moving to military aviation, Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) has underscored the importance of inducting combat aircraft in large numbers and aerial tankers as these serve as force-multipliers and enhance the operational capability of the combat fleet, much needed considering the geopolitical scenario in the region. Similarly, the need to enhance the transport fleet has been highlighted by Joseph Noronha. He found recent developments like the induction of Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III edifying, but uncertain progress of efforts to revamp the tactical segment gives rise to some disquiet.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and happy landings!