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India Aviation 2010 takes off smoothly

Hyderabad. It is a curious time on the globe. In a world which is on a tortoise paced growth, it is heartening to see a sector which has had its ups and downs, rise strong like the phoenix. India Aviation 2010 with more than 200 participants, brings a ray of hope for the sector coming out from the cudgels of the economic downturn.

A recipe with ingredient like the resurging Indian Aviation industry, ever increasing business market due to attractive FDI opportunity, a growing air traveler graph and a conglomerate of all the names which matter in the industry, the event promises to be a sure shot success.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel expressed confidence that the Telangana agitation would not cast a shadow over the “India Aviation 2010” to be held at Hyderabad from March 3 to 7.

“The worst seems to be over. Indian airlines carried a record 44mn passengers in 2009 and Boeing expects that number to increase by 8 to 10% in this year,” exhorted Dinesh Keskar, President Boeing India.

Last month, India’s largest private carriers Jet Airways and SpiceJet reported net profits in the final quarter of 2009 after posting losses in the same period a year earlier. With India’s economy rebounding, private carriers should post a combined profit of $250- 300mn in the fiscal year from April, the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation recently forecast.

While France is the partner country and USA the focus country, there will be country pavilions from Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands. 115 companies from overseas and the rest from India, will showcase their products and services for the prospective buyer.

AN 148 aircraft of Antonov UACRussia is being displayed for the first time. For static and flying display, there will be over 40 aircraft against 35 that were there in India Aviation 2008. Over 18 hospitality chalets have been taken by various companies from India and overseas to have meetings with their prospective customers in a typical airshow atmosphere. Besides this, there will be national and international speakers at the Conference along with inputs from all stakeholders.

Static and Customer Demonstration Flights from the companies like Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, Dassault Aviation, Gulfstream Aerospace, Hawker Beechcraft, UAC and many more will be the highlight of the show. Airlines like Air India, Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spicejet, Paramount and Qatar Airways will represent the revival in the industry.

Private airlines account for around 75 per cent share of the domestic aviation market. These airlines are scripting the story of the revival of the aviation sector and will be the cynosure of all business activities at Begumpet, Hyderabad.

Stating that India provided a huge investment opportunity in the aviation sector, the civil aviation minister informed that about 200 to 300 billion dollars would be required in the next 10-15 years for development of aviation infrastructure in India.

Aviation service agencies, charter transportation organisations, cargo transportation services, transport logistics service agencies, airline charters, taxi operators, insurance agencies, aviation tourism, aviation clubs, flying schools, cabin crew and ground crew training institutes and aviation engineering colleges, are going to be the visitors to the exposition.

Exhibitor Profile also includes aero engines, accessories and components, aircraft construction and engineering, aircraft maintenance, overhaul and repair, security systems, fire and safety equipment, electric and lighting equipment, air-conditioning and pressurizing equipment, flight simulators and trainers, fueling equipment, fuels and lubricants, meteorological equipment, parachutes, automatic flight control systems, auxilliary and emergency power units.

India Aviation 2010 is the premier civil aviation exhibition in India, organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

The show is supported by Airports Authority of India (AAI), Air India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd.

According to Mr MM Nambiar, Civil Aviation Secretary, in addition to creating state-of-the-art airports in Delhi and Mumbai, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is also spending US$ 427.5 million on developing the airports in Kolkata and another US$ 384.7 million on Chennai airport.

In fact, multi-billion dollar airport infrastructure investments is planned to handle growing air traffic of over 580 million passengers by 2016-17.

AAI plans investment of $1 billion to modernize 35 non metro airports. It also plans to develop 10 green field airports. Foreign equity up to 100% is permitted in airport infrastructure.

Air traffic services at 80 airports is to be upgraded. Upcoming multi modal cargo hubs, growing opportunities in MRO with a potential to service a fleet of 1000 commercial and 500 general aviation aircraft, these all make India a potentially huge aviation market.

“The aviation sector suffered setbacks all over the world in 2008-2009 due to global recession, high fuel prices and load factor,” said Mr Praful Patel.

But he points out that the bad patch is almost over and the sector is looking up and forward. The Indian government was also giving a dose of significant financial help to Air India although it expected the airline to take “extraordinary” measures for its turnaround.

He has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which regulates the sector, to ensure that airlines and travel portals incorporate the fuel surcharge in the basic fare. The airport and user development fees will be kept out of it. “The minister has asked DGCA to ensure that the airlines and portals charge only one fare,” said a source in the ministry.

“The year 2009 has been an eventful and tumultuous year for the civil aviation sector worldwide. We can draw satisfaction from the fact that the worst is over. Things are turning for the better, which is borne out by the rebound in air traffic figures from October onwards,” Mr Patel said in a statement, adding: “I hope things will stabilise in 2010 and flying will once again be the preferred choice of travel for people.”

Once a symbol of India’s vibrant economic progress, the aviation sector has seen its fortunes nosedive since last year following the global slowdown.

India’s aviation sector, ranked the world’s ninth largest, was valued at USD 5.6 billion in 2008 and it is slowly taking off as domestic and international traffic volumes pick up again. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has predicted that domestic traffic would rise by 25 to 30 per cent in 2010, while international traffic was expected to grow by 15 per cent.

© India Strategic