It is time to seize the skies

India is set to become one of the major players in the aerospace industry
India is set to become one of the major players in the aerospace industry

Veena Rao, senior investment associate for Boeing and head of portfolio management for Aerospace Xelerated discusses India’s rise within the sector and the exciting technologies being developed.

“It is time to seize the skies”. These were the words of India’s civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, on the heels of record-breaking plane orders made by Indian airlines eyeing domestic and international market expansion, aptly describing the country’s aims to establish itself as a leading global aerospace power.

On the one hand, India’s aviation sector is undergoing a transformative boom, fuelled by government and private sector initiatives to establish the country as an international aviation hub, capitalise on supply chain interest in alternative jurisdictions for sourcing, and serve increasing air transport demand. In the past year alone, four new airports and four terminals have opened, bringing the total to 149 civil airports, twice the number from a decade ago.

Looking further afield, India is poised to emerge as a critical player in the aerospace sector, riding on a trajectory of upward growth and a booming industry. On August 23, 2023, India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission saw it become the fourth nation to reach the moon and the first to successfully land on the lunar south pole. The historic mission has helped to highlight India’s scientific and technical potential and establish the nation as a critical player in the space race.

Going for growth

The growth of the aerospace industry in India is bolstered by the initiatives and partnerships between government and private sector stakeholders, including corporations like Boeing. Since the 1940s, The Boeing Company has been a partner in developing India’s aerospace sector. The country is home to Boeing’s largest manufacturing and workforce presence outside of the USA, with 4,000 employees and an additional 7,000+ people working on dedicated supply chain jobs with 300+ Indian supplier partners.

Headquartered in Delhi, Boeing’s India operations include Mumbai, Hindan, Rajali and New Delhi field service offices and a rapidly growing Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centre (BIETC) in Bengaluru and Chennai. Boeing also has a long standing partnership with the Tata Group, operating a joint venture and Hyderabad based manufacturing facility under Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL). The partnership closely aligns with India’s self-reliance efforts by jointly developing aerospace and defence systems for India and other countries.

One of the ways that Boeing supports innovation in the Indian aerospace industry is through its BUILD programme, an initiative to foster and bolster the growing startup environment in the country and cultivate talent. Working with seven incubators in India, the programme invites applications from university students and early-stage startups, encouraging entrepreneurial minds to incubate innovative ideas across various industry verticals. The company is committed to supporting the development of the Indian aerospace industry and creating sustainable value in the Indian sector.

Ahead and beyond

2024 looks to be another promising year for the Indian aerospace sector, and I am excited about what is to come. Despite continued challenges in the global and domestic markets, the credit rating agency ICRA predicts that the Indian aviation industry will grow by 8-13%, with increased domestic and international traffic. Indian space startup Skyroot Aerospace recently unveiled its Vikram-1 rocket set to deliver satellites to low earth orbit in the new year. With increased demand, the Indian aviation sector is on a hiring spree, creating thousands of new jobs with more opportunities expected in the future.

Events such as Wings India 2024 in Hyderabad and MRO South Asia 2024 in New Delhi will also offer unparalleled opportunities for industry stakeholders to connect, explore new opportunities for collaboration and innovation, and highlight the work being done by government, corporates, startups and SMEs to advance the development of the Indian aerospace sector.

With continued focus and investment by the public and private sectors in its scientific and technological capabilities and potential for high levels of growth, the Indian aerospace industry promises to be an exciting one to watch in the coming years.

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