US aviation manufacturers bullish on Indian market

New Delhi, Dec 2 : Even as Indian civil aviation industry struggles in a tough operating environment, US based aviation companies are bullish on the sector's future prospects.

"We have had a long and successful partnership with India. We have been in India creating sustainable, aviation ecosystem," Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India, said at the ninth Indo-US Resurgence Summit held here.

Pratyush Kumar, who was speaking at the event organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), added that his company is in the process of building capacity and capability of the Indian aviation sector and is closely working with education and training institutes as well.

India in recent past has placed orders for maritime patrol aircraft P8I and C-17 heavy-lift military aircraft, apart from scouting for new attack and transport choppers in which US based companies are participating.

In pure commercial deals, major India-based airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways and SpiceJet operate Boeing built aircraft. State-run Air India has ordered 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing, on the other hand, is setting up a $100 million maintenance repair overhaul (MRO) facility for Air India following an order for 737s and 787s Dreamliners which was placed by Air India in January 2006.

The civil aviation sector in India has faced turbulence in recent years as stubbornly high jet fuel prices, interest costs and an economic slowdown have troubled the already financially-stretched industry.

However, US based manufacturers are still bullish on the future prospects of the industry which is set to achieve high growth rates due to little or negligible proportion of air passenger numbers from the total population of over 1.2 billion.

Pratyush Kumar's views were corroborated by navigational and surveillance components manufacturer Raytheon which has described India as one of the most promising import markets in the world not only from sales point of view but also as a critical global supply hub.

Consultancy firm KPMG's partner and head (aerospace and defence) Amber Dubey said there are various opportunities for American companies in Indian civil aviation sector ranging from maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities, training and infrastructure development.

"There are opportunities for (US) companies in the low-cost development of Indian tier-I and II airports, as there are numerous such small airports in the US which are owned by the local municipalities. These airports are looked upon as a part of the city and the gateway towards it," Dubey said.

The US-India Aviation Cooperation Program's officials were also optimistic over developments in the sector and said that they will organise a workshop for both Indian and US companies before next year Indian Civil Aviation Show, slated to be held in Hyderabad.

US is the partner country at the show.

The day-long summit in the national capital is being attended by more than 200 delegates representing companies and institutions from India and the US, including top diplomats and officials from government levels.

--IANS (Posted on 02-12-2013)

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