in a bid to cash on a boom in the domestic civil aviation sector.
Officials from the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) told reporters
the state-owned firm will present a detailed report to the government
within three months seeking clearance to manufacture a 90-seater
“There is potential for short-distance, low-cost carriers as operators
are looking for cost-effective and right-sized aircraft, while
passengers want lower air fares,” NAL director A.R. Upadhaya said.
“The proposed 90-seat civil aircraft can make this happen,” he said at
Aero India in Bangalore, South Asia’s largest airshow, where global
aviation firms are vying for a slice of India’s burgeoning civil and
The planned aircraft would be ready for commercial operation by 2017 if
cleared for production. India has in the past made a 16-seater aeroplane
but it was intended for governmental rather than commercial use.
Upadhaya said various international aerospace companies were interested
in becoming partners in the 50-billion-rupee ($1 billion) project, the
first attempt by India to develop a civil aeroplane of that size.
Citing a government assessment, he said India would require about 1,000 aircraft by 2025 in the 90-seater segment.
Europe’s Airbus expects India will need more than 1,000 aircraft over the next 20 years at a cost of $138 billion.
India’s passenger numbers will expand by 15 percent annually over the
next five years, making it the fastest-growing market in the world,
Dinesh Keskar, president of Boeing’s India subsidiary, forecast earlier
in the week.
The expansion of India’s middle class, spurred by the country’s growing economy, has fuelled air travel.