Paris [France], June 20 (ANI): There is a lot of buzz about India at the Paris Air Show, the world’s largest air show, which alternates with Farnborough in Britain, is at Le Bourget for the first time in four years after the 2021 edition fell victim to the pandemic.
This comes after IndiGo’s monumental order for 500 Airbus narrowbody jets, billedd as the largest order ever placed with Airbus. In February, Air India also placed orders for 470 aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing.
In an exclusive with ANI, Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to France and Monaco said, “There is a lot of buzz at the Paris Air Show about India. This comes from the announcement by Indigo Airlines and what is billed as the largest order for Airbus. This follows the order that Air India had placed both on Airbus and Boeing for 470 aircraft just in February.”
The buying spree by Indian airlines adds to signs of strong global demand for civilian aircraft as travel rebounds from the pandemic and airlines look to reduce their environmental impact with more fuel-efficient new models.
“Everyone recognizes that the aviation sector is growing at a very rapid pace. India is one of the top three aviation markets, the number of airports has doubled from 74 in the course of just nine years and the traffic at major airports is growing at double-digit rates. Now, this is the size and the market; therefore, we have placed more orders for aircraft, and there are aircraft flying in India. We hope that this will also translate into India becoming a major aviation hub and becoming a major carrier for international traffic and re-emerge as one of the major aviation service providers in the world,” said Ashraf.
Air India’s deal includes 250 planes from Airbus and 220 from Boeing. The Airbus part comprises 210 A320neo and A321neo narrowbody jets and 40 A350 widebodies, while the Boeing deal is for 190 737 MAX, 20 787 Dreamliners and 10 mini-jumbo 777X.
Ambassador Ashraf also said that French companies are developing the aviation sector from an industrial and servicing standpoint in India.
“Safran, the French company that makes engines, both military and civil aviation engines has just announced that it is going to set up its largest global MRO which is a maintenance repair overhaul facility in Hyderabad. We will serve not just the engines of Indian aircraft, but also the entire region,” said the Indian envoy.
Moreover, there are many companies including French companies that have started manufacturing components, advanced systems for aircraft and engines and some of these require very advanced technologies and Safran inaugurated two plants last year to manufacture engine parts in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Also, Airbus and Boeing are manufacturing various components and systems and subsystems designing, doing research and development and engineering works in India.
“So there’s a lot of value addition in the aviation sector. From the perspective of design, development, engineering, and manufacturing, we tend to focus a lot on the complete platforms. But I think there is a lot of value addition in developing manufacturing specific components, subsystems parts during the design and engineering,” said Ashraf.
Speaking about defence aviation, he said that India is one of the major military powers in the world and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for Atma Nirbhar Bharat has provided further impetus to realise the goal of indigenisation of the defence sector.
“Today, there is a lot of interest from all defence aviation companies, and we’ve seen that in the Paris Air Show not just the French companies, but companies from everywhere else that are interested in setting up manufacturing design and development and engineering facilities in India,” said Ashraf.
PM Modi has taken a clear stance that India must become sovereign, and self-reliant in the defence industry in order to really be a secure nation and create employment in India and not just abroad.
“You can see there is a buzz in Paris Air Show, also because everyone recognizes that to make supply chains resilient, they need to diversify the supply chains. COVID was a great learning experience in the geopolitical competition and tensions are another reason why all aviation companies whether they make military or civil and usually they do both are wanting to diversify and set up supply chains in India, not just for the Indian market, but for the global market,” said the Indian envoy.
He said that many companies have made several proposals to India regarding it.
“This really is a reflection of two things. One is the fact that PM Modi has made a very clear decision that India is not going to simply continue with the buyer-seller relationship and is not going to become simply a buyer of foreign equipment. He wants to develop a defence industry, a truly sovereign and self-reliant defence industry that’s important for our economy. It’s important for our security. The second reason we are looking ahead is because of the fact that France and India shared a very strong and strategic partnership, and that gives us that comfort to proceed with this,” said Ashraf.
Talking about PM Modi’s upcoming visit to France, invited as the Guest of Honour for the National Day on July 14, he said, “During that period, we will have a tri-service marching contingent over here. We will also have a military band and in addition to that, fly past by our fighter jets.”
India and France are celebrating 25 years of strategic partnership between the two countries, which was signed in 1998 by Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and French President Jacques Chirac.
“Since then, our relationship has transformed completely it’s grown in every dimension. This is a moment both to celebrate that journey, but also to look ahead over the next 25 years and beyond to raise the ambitions of our partnership to work in a very diverse set of areas, the broad range of areas, and our relationship is no longer just confined to bilateral partnership, but it has a genuinely global perspective, key partnership for the Indo-Pacific region,” said the Indian envoy.