A Word from 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.

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

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