It is very much possible for large airplanes to be manufactured in India, although it will take a long time because requirements are huge for capital, skills and infrastructure, top aircraft maker Boeing has said.
The $105-billion global giant also said that the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme has become a major incentive for the foreign investors and every company wanted to be associated with it because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal involvement in this initiative.
Stating that India is on the right track and it needs to gradually move up, senior Boeing executive Dinesh Keskar said that the country and the companies there would need to consistently develop the skill-set and other necessary requirements to get to a stage of making large planes.
He was replying to a query on whether large airplanes like Boeing 787 can ever be made in India.
“That will be a long time. Even China which is way ahead in manufacturing is still not doing it. It takes three things — a huge amount of capital, a highly skilled labour force and top-end facilities,” Keskar said.
“Boeing bets its big every time it builds a new plane. You need billions of dollars,” said Keskar, Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific and India Sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He was here for the Paris International Air Show, which concluded this weekend.
Explaining further, the aircraft industry veteran said, “You need an amazing amount of skilled labour who knows how to build different systems and integrate it all together.
“Today, there are only two companies, Boeing and Airbus, who know how to do this. Others are making smaller planes. So, money, skills and facilities are the three things we need.”
The Boeing executive said India has got the money and workforce, but no Indian firm has so far decided to do it.
“Even the smaller airplanes are not being made so far. I think, we should start with 50-seaters or 100-seaters and then look at the bigger ones. That is how it can work,” he said.
Rival Airbus India Managing Director Srinivasan Dwarkanath also said it was very much possible for India to manufacture large planes over the years.
Giving example of the proposed replacement for the Indian Air Force’s Avro aircraft fleet, he said it would “totally made in India”.
“I don’t see a reason why it (manufacturing of large aircraft) cannot happen in India,” said Dwarkanath, who was also here for the Air Show.
Indian defence systems firm OIS Chairman and Managing Director Sanjay Bhandari said: “With the sustained support of the government policies, where the government looks to the private sector for advanced products and technology solutions, it should be able to manufacture, design and develop advanced technology over the foreseeable future.”