Jet, set, go

| Updated on March 20, 2020

Snapshots from Wings India 2020 — a biennial air show

While airports in India and elsewhere around the world are busy shutting doors to visitors, the defunct airport at Hyderabad’s Begumpet area welcomed some high-flying guests from March 12-15. The shadow of Covid-19 was present, too, but Wings India 2020 still managed to take off.

Though the biennial event was curtailed — no tickets were sold to the public, for instance — it did not stop Brazilian manufacturer Embraer from flying down its latest E2 195 aircraft to Hyderabad. Named the profit hunter, the jet, Embraer claimed, is ideally suited for the government’s regional air connectivity scheme (RCS). Also vying for attention at the show was Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s home-made Dornier D 228 aircraft, which has been especially developed for RCS. Unlike in the previous six editions of the air show, this time Indian carriers were largely missing in the static display area. Vistara saved the day by flying in its Boeing 787-9 aircraft for a few hours on the third day.

The show also gave the UK-based Global Stars another chance to use the Indian skies as a canvas for aerobatics. “You cannot fly very high as the aerobatics won’t be visible to the public,” said Chris Burkett, one of the pilots of the small German aircraft that was used for the show. Preceding them in the aerobatics segment was a team of helicopters from the Indian Air Force.

The air show was also a platform for agreements between aviation companies, seminars and brainstorming sessions on aviation financing and leasing, and capacity building for airlines and airports, among other issues.

Text by V Rishikumar; images by Nagara Gopal

Published on March 18, 2020

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