The design for indigenous Regional Transport Aircraft is likely to be finalised within the next two to three months, said a senior official of Civil Aviation Ministry.

Apart from the design of the passenger aircraft, its size and the number of seat options 70-80 or 100 seats, as also the possibility of finalising the type of the engines, whether it should be turbo prop or turbo jet, will be considered, said G Asok Kumar, Joint Secretary, Civil Aviation Ministry.

The official said the CAPAC (Civil Aviation Products Advisory Committee) met at the India Aviation 2014 and discussed various aspects and the progress of the regional aircraft project and also the possibility of Indian companies taking part in the initiative. A prototype is likely to be ready within 6-7 years, he said.

Several major manufacturers of aviation parts such as Mahindras, Taneja, Tatas, NAL and HAL were present during the interaction on how to expand the domestic manufacturing capabilities, he said.

In July 2013, the Prime Minister had approved the project. After that several major steps have been initiated including the formation of a special purpose vehicle with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), he said.

India is keen to develop 70-100-seater passenger aircraft with joint efforts of HAL and NAL. The initial funding of ₹20 crore will be borne by the joint venture partners. The HAL Board has already given approval for the JV/SPV.

(This article was published on March 16, 2014)
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