SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Boeing-Airbus both have made similar Sales Projections that India in the next 10-15 years will be requiring close to 2000 aircraft to meet the demands of its booming aviation sector but non of these companies have shown plans to locally manufacture any of their aircraft from their wide range of portfolio in India thus limiting India’s position as just client rather than as a partner in their business projections.
According to Aviation experts, a majority share of aircraft needed by India will be Regional jets and Narrow-body aircraft which will attribute close to 85% of the aircraft that have been projected by Boeing-Airbus. Wide-body aircraft that are usually reserved for long-haul routes in International sectors will see limited requirements.
Regional jets that are often powered by Turboprop or Turbojet jet engines are ideal for short-haul flights within a radius of 600-800km to carry 70-90 pax at their max capacities. Narrow-body aircraft that are powered by Turbojet jet engines are ideal for short-medium haul flights often used on busy sectors since they can carry more then 120+ passengers. This segment is presently dominated by A320/321 variants and Boeing 757 and larger 737 variants in India.
CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories had proposed developing a Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) aircraft with a pax capacity of 70-90 for short-medium haul flights within the country but that could have required massive investment coming from the Government. CSIR-NAL has little or no experience working on a such major project in the country and after the sale of Air India to Tata Group, the Governments interest in the program dipped considerably since it is no more running an airline company and unlike China it cant force Private Airline companies to procure locally developed aircraft for their operations.
CSIR-NAL’s plans to develop RTA for the Indian market made logical sense since it could have promoted jobs and the aviation sector in the country but it failed to understand that the airline sector doesn’t bet on new players, certainly not on a company that has no great product to display nor any past achievements.
RTA-90 will remain a non-starter unless it joins hands with some reputed foreign OEM company and also allows Private sector companies to be part of its supply chain. CSIR-NAL needs to seek funding from private sector investors and institutions for this project to become viable and to also fix accountability that will generate a level of confidence in airline players in the country.
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