A Word from Editor-in-Chief

With the rapid growth of regional aviation in India, Regional Jets have the potential to play a major role in the future in the Indian regional aviation segment

Issue: 3 / 2018By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

There are indications that the efforts of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to restore the badly depleted fleet of combat aircraft to the authorised level, that had run aground in the recent past, is beginning to move forward again. It is understood that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is likely to issue a Request for Information (RFI) to selected aerospace majors across the world seeking their response to India’s quest for a single or a twinengine combat aircraft in fairly large numbers for the IAF under the Make in India programme. However, given the complexities of the Defence Procurement Procedure, this is only a preliminary step and the process may take some time to fructify. In the meantime, the IAF will wait with fingers crossed and hope that this new exercise does not meet the same fate as was the case in 2015 with the tender for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA). However, the latest move by the MoD will be a repeat of the MMRCA tender floated in 2007. The need to explore options to induct combat aircraft in quick time has become urgent especially as the project to develop a fifth-generation fighter aircraft jointly with Russia, is also plagued with uncertainty.

In this issue of SP’s Aviation, Byron Bohlman, an aviation expert, analyses the regional aviation scene in India and the issues related to profitability in operating Regional Jets. The author states that currently, carriers in India largely operate turboprops on short routes as these aircraft offer better profitability. However, on the longer routes Regional Jets have the potential to offer significantly better profitability. There is a crossover point, measured by distance, where the efficiency of a jet surpasses that of a turboprop. Longer sectors hold the key to Regional Jet’s success where nonstop flights that replace hub connections can command higher yields. With the rapid growth of regional aviation in India, Regional Jets have the potential to play a major role in the future in the Indian regional aviation segment.

A major event on the global civil aviation scene in the recent past has been the Singapore Airshow 2018 held in the second week of February 2018. Even though the majority of global players in the domain of civil aviation were present at the Airshow, there were no major deals concluded. At this event, the focus of the industry appeared to be largely on components as also on maintenance, repairs and overhaul contracts. Rohit Srivastava has a detailed report on the event in this issue of SP’s Aviation.

In an interview, Rohit Kapur, President of Business Aircraft Operators Association, explicitly catalogues the infirmities afflicting the business aviation segment of the Indian civil aviation industry and the reforms needed to make it more businessfriendly and productive. The thrust for reforms must be focussed not only through changes in policy; but equally important is the need for change in perception of the vital role this segment of the Indian civil aviation industry can play in the growth of the national economy. Group Captain C.J. Weir (Retd) who has been associated with the civil aviation industry since retirement from the IAF, in an article in this issue, highlights some of the serious issues and challenges that confront present day civil aviation in India and what the concerned authorities can do to ensure better efficiency with higher standards of safety.

All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and do visit us at Wings India 2018 in Booth No. 28, Hall B.