The Aero Show 2019 in Bengaluru is among the many shows organised globally in which both military and civil aeronautical companies participate and is comparatively a new entrant to the field as it has been around for only about 25 years.

Other aero shows

Other better known aero shows include the Paris Air Show which started in 1909. Since 1949, the Paris Air Show has been held every alternate year at the Le Bourget airport. There is also the Farnborough Airshow in the UK, which started in 1932 but moved to its current location in 1948. Closer home, Dubai first organised an air show in 1986 and in 2008, Singapore started holding an aero show every alternate year.

Like its international counterparts, the Bengaluru Aero Show primarily gives companies in the civil aviation and defence space a chance to exhibit their products, conduct seminars, interact with prospective buyers, hunt for new talent and give the public a chance to witness first hand new products that are on offer.

The show gives the government a chance to display its achievements in the civil aviation and defence space and the potential that the two sectors offer for international players. The event provides a good opportunity for the government as the defence budget has been increased by 6.87 per cent to ₹3.18 lakh crore in the interim budget 2019-20 even as India was counted as one of the biggest military spenders in 2017 with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) putting the country in the fifth spot globally behind the US, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia. Further, the domestic aviation market has been witnessing a double-digit growth for over 51 successive months, providing ample opportunities for companies to be a part of the show. Therefore, it’s small wonder that large international players like the American giant Boeing and its European competitor Airbus, which have been part of the Aero Show, are enthusiastic about the Bengaluru Air Show. Also marking their presence at the show are Russian companies and some home-grown players.

Partnership with India

Boeing’s focus this time is on partnership with its defence and commercial customers, and its strategic investments in developing India’s aerospace ecosystem, with the theme ‘The future is built here’.

“Boeing has been closely supporting the modernisation and mission-readiness of the Indian armed forces with advanced products and services, and we look forward to continued discussions on their future requirements,” said Michael Koch, Vice President Boeing Defence, Space and Security in India.

Boeing is showcasing various aspects of its partnership with India, including the rapidly growing engineering and technology centre in Bengaluru, a joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems in Hyderabad, its extensive ‘Make in India’ supplier network, and skill development and start-up innovation HorizonX programmes.

The Aero Show 2019 has also seen Airbus’s biggest-ever participation with the Airbus A330 New Engine Option (NEO) aircraft, which is the latest edition of the European aircraft’s widebody family, serving as the centrepiece. This comes at a time when more Indian carriers are seeking to fly longer distances from India.

Delhi-based low-cost airline IndiGo recently announced flights to Turkey and China while SpiceJet has plans to fly to the Commonwealth of Independent States and China. “Aero India is the jewel in the crown of the world’s largest defence and third-largest commercial aviation market,” said Anand E Stanley, President and Managing Director, Airbus India and South Asia, adding that Airbus’ large-scale commitment to the show demonstrates that India is more than a market. “ It is a core base for us,” he added.

Drone Olympics

US-based global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin is using the event to showcase its work with the India Innovation Growth Programme which the firm co-founded over 12 years ago. These events include the Star-Up Showcase and the Drone Olympics.

BAE Systems too unveiled some of its finest future-tech solutions to the Indian Armed Forces at Aero India this year.

“The show serves as a fertile ground for us to include MSMEs into our global supply chain ecosystem while engaging with our key stakeholders, providing both direction and momentum to our plans. Developing an in-country supply chain is key to our India commitment and we are delighted to see this being galvanised through the commencement of the Make-in-India M777 programme,” said Nik Khanna, Managing Director, India.