With just about two months to go for the biggest air show in Asia, the registrations for Aero India 2021 are steadily growing. The air show will be held between February 3 and 7 at the Air Force Station Yelahanka. As on November 20, 467 exhibitors have signed up for the biannual airshow, including 48 foreign exhibitors from 17 countries.
Among the foreign countries, France is leading the list, followed by USA, UK and Israel. As of now, 23 French companies have registered for the show, followed by six US companies, and five each from the UK and Israel. Airbus SAS, Dassault Aviation, Rafale International, Safran and Thales are among the foreign exhibitors from France.
During the last edition of the show too, French companies had topped the participation list, with the Rafales, FALCON 2000S and helicopters from the Airbus stable. During the 2019 edition, the Rafales were the most sought after aircraft as it dominated the news space at the time. The opposition parties had alleged corruption in the Rafale inter-government deal, signed between India and France, for the manufacture of 36 aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
In the Aero India 2019 edition, two Rafale’s, belonging to the French Air Force, were part of the flying display while one was on static display. This time, however, the Indian Air Force’s own Rafale’s, inducted a few months ago, are expected to participate and be a huge draw. Though the aircraft booking space has gone live, the aircraft which will be participating in the five-day airshow is still not made public yet. But in most likeliness, global aerospace companies are expected to bring in their aircraft for flight display, with the Indian Air Force looking to procure 100 plus multi-role fighter aircraft.
So far six companies have responded to the IAF’s Request for Information (RFI) for 110 multi-role fighter jets. Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), SAAB Aviation’s (Gripen), Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin (F-21) and Russia’s Mig-35, have responded to the RFI. About 92 per cent of the space has been booked for the airshow which will be held with the organisers following all the Covid-19 protocols and with foreign participants expected to follow the State government’s guidelines for international returnees to the state. Business or short term visitors who come with a negative RT-PCR test report shall be exempted from testing on arrival, the RT-PCR test would have been conducted within 96 hrs prior to undertaking the journey.