Airbus India President and Managing Director, Remi Maillard speaks to Swarajya about its future expansion plan and also the building of the final assembly line of the C295 aircraft in India.
Excerpts from the interview
Q. Tell us about your footprint in India?
A: Airbus has a long-standing relationship of symbiotic growth with India. Airbus started operations in India in 2007 and I am proud to say that we have recently crossed the 3,000 employees mark.
These employees are working on core aerospace activities across engineering, information management, services, procurement and training. We plan to take our full-time staff strength to 5,000 by 2025.
Not only that, we also procure components and services worth $750 million every year in India.
And this value keeps increasing. We recently signed new contracts with Aequs, Dynamatic, Gardner and Mahindra Aerospace for the manufacturing of components for airframe and wing parts across Airbus’ A320 neo, A330 neo and A350 programmes.
The doors of our flagship A320 family programme will also be manufactured in India by Tata Advanced Systems. You would have seen that we have also recently signed a partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to develop civil MRO capabilities in the country.
Our vision is to develop a comprehensive and efficient aviation and aerospace ecosystem in India with all related building blocks from engineering to training, manufacturing and maintenance.
Q. Since India is a growing market, is Airbus planning for further industrial presence in the country?
A: Yes, the big plan is now the building of the final assembly line for our C295 aircraft. And not only the final assembly line, but also the complete manufacturing ecosystem in partnership with our good partner Tata.
The final assembly line will be located in Vadodara, Gujarat, whereas the major component assembly facility is being established in Hyderabad, Telangana.
Make-in-India is a living reality at Airbus. Our state-of-the-art C295 aircraft will be manufactured, assembled and maintained in India for India and will include indigenous technologies from Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
It will trigger the development of a comprehensive industrial ecosystem bringing together the best of the Indian private, public and MSME sectors to serve the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision of the government.
This game-changing programme will lead to the creation of 25,000 direct and indirect jobs over 10 years.
Q. The big ticket aircraft deal with Air India has created a buzz in the aviation market. Any update on this?
A: You will hear more buzz in the coming weeks with the imminent delivery of the first A350 to Air India.
This aircraft will proudly wear the new resplendent Air India colours and will become the flagship of the Air India fleet, while resolutely contributing to the Air India's 'Vihaan.AI' transformation.
The entry into service of the A350 aircraft into the Air India fleet marks a new dawn for international travel out of India.
The A350 is the latest generation, the most sustainable and the most efficient wide body aircraft. It is a clean-sheet design including state-of-the-art technologies, materials and aerodynamics delivering unmatched efficiency and comfort.
Our all-new A350 aircraft will go a long way to unlock the pent-up potential of India’s long-haul market.
Q. How can the A350, the world’s most modern and wide-body aircraft, enhance the long-range flying experience?
A: The A350 is the only wide body aircraft that can connect point-to-point anywhere in India to anywhere in the world starting with the US, both east coast and west coast. Not only it can go further, but it does it economically with 25 per cent fuel burn reduction.
The A350 also offers the best flying experience for passengers with the quietest of all cabins and the most modern in-flight products.
The kind of revolution we have seen in the Indian domestic market for the last 15 years is now happening on the international market. And the A350 is the catalyst of this revolution.
Q. Tell us briefly about your community outreach programme?
A: Education is a core pillar of our business strategy in India. And we do it across all dimensions starting with our pilot training centre in Gurugram, which hosts two full flight simulators.
We have also engaged in innovative partnerships with prominent universities in the country, like the IIT Kanpur and the Gati Shakti University in Vadodara, to bolster research and develop academic curriculum in the field of aerospace engineering.
We are also actively involved in education and training of youth from underprivileged communities through our programmes with Christel House India and Tata Strive.
We are upskilling 900 youth over the next three years on technology and aviation courses across all Airbus sites in India. We will continue investing massively to further skill India and to take our fair share in community development.
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