Make in India key for Honeywell: Arijit Ghosh
President of Honeywell Aerospace India Arijit Ghosh says the company is investing heavily in the next generation of Indian aerospace engineers and pilots
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Mumbai: Make in India is at the heart of Honeywell’s strategy in the country and that has been for 40 years, said Arijit Ghosh, president of Honeywell Aerospace India.
In line with this strategy, Honeywell is investing heavily in the next generation of Indian aerospace engineers and pilots, Ghosh said. Edited excerpts of the interview.
How is Honeywell faring in India?
India is a very important market for Honeywell’s businesses, including aerospace. With the Indian aviation industry investing in new technology to increase domestic productivity and build world-class products suitable for international export, it’s a great time for us to be active and present in the region, delivering technologies and services that improve productivity, performance and efficiency.
Honeywell has been working in India since the 1930s, and our aerospace legacy in the country spans four decades. We have established long-term relationships with the Indian government and ministry of defence, as well as companies such as Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and the country’s leading airlines.
In terms of Honeywell Aerospace, our portfolio is broad, which means we are able to play across a wide spectrum of aviation and defence platforms and programmes. We have technologies for the smallest turboprop aircraft to the largest commercial jets, most advanced military aircraft and even space platforms. Honeywell’s technologies span almost every part of an airplane, from nose to tail.
These technologies are becoming more and more important to Indian operators. In the commercial space, there is a need to improve operational efficiency and reduce congestion. Fuel accounts for as much as 50% of an airline’s operational cost, and passenger numbers across India are expected to reach 540 million annually by 2025. In the defence sector, a substantial focus on the overhaul and upgrade of military fleets represents an opportunity for Honeywell to provide its avionics systems, as well as our engine and APU (auxiliary power unit) product lines.
What are the plans going ahead in India?
India is a strategic and significant growth pillar for Honeywell Aerospace and is at the centre of the company’s strategy. Over the last decade, Honeywell Aerospace’s business in India has been growing rapidly since the advent of low-cost carriers.
Honeywell has a long-standing history of working with India and will continue to support this high-growth region’s aerospace and defence industries in the future. Make in India is at the heart of Honeywell’s defence strategy in the country, and has been for 40 years. In September 2014, Honeywell and Tata Power SED Ltd signed a technology-sharing agreement for Honeywell’s TALIN inertial navigation system. This agreement allows India to co-produce its first locally produced advanced navigational system, supporting the Indian government’s Make in India campaign.
Are you planning to take advantage of the Make In India campaign?
The three most crucial elements for the Make in India campaign are land, labour and capital. It will be important for the government and ministries of human resources and education to focus on developing learning opportunities around aeronautics to ensure the Make in India campaign is successful in the long term. On the other hand, companies need to offer training programmes that will further enhance the capabilities of domestic employees and suppliers.
In line with this, Honeywell is investing heavily in the next generation of Indian aerospace engineers and pilots. Our Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. engineering arm, based in Bengaluru, has close connections with schools and universities and is committed to training young Indian engineers in aerospace and defence. Additionally, we have supported some of our engineers in obtaining their private pilot licence. These are some of the measures taken by Honeywell to contribute to a more advanced, capable and successful ecosystem of Indian aerospace manufacturing and engineering talent.
From a technology point of view, our partnerships with Tata Power SED on the Honeywell TALIN inertial land navigator will bring not only very high performance technologies to the country but technologies that have a strong local engineering element to them too, which will be critical for the success of the Make in India movement.
Furthermore, with the government’s efforts to attract investment into the country, Indian companies will be able to gain access to the technology, skills and international markets required for sustainable defence growth.
What are the updates on Indian MRO venture?
The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) partnership in India is key to Honeywell Aerospace’s strategy as we continue to grow our presence in the region. The MRO venture continues to develop well. Honeywell Aerospace has supported the Indian aerospace industry’s growth for the last 40 years, our MRO undertaking strongly supports our commitment to future growth in the country and supports government initiatives in this domain.
Are you happy with budget 2016 proposals?
The government’s proposal to develop India as the ‘MRO hub of Asia’ by making provisions for incentivizing domestic value addition is extremely encouraging for the Make in India movement.
Other incentives extended towards the MRO segment like scrapping the one-year restriction for the utilization of duty-free parts and permitting import of unserviceable parts by MROs for providing exchange will further boost the Make in India initiative. We are extremely pleased with the government’s MRO proposal to revive 160 airports and airstrips which will help to boost air connectivity.
Post budget 2016, will life be easy for MROs?
The MRO business of Indian carriers is around Rs.5,000 crore, 90% of which is currently spent outside India, including in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE. The government is keen to develop India as a MRO hub in Asia which will help attract business from foreign airlines while retaining business domestically.
Foreign aircraft brought to India for MRO work would be allowed to stay up to six months or an even longer period of time, which would be decided by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Such aircraft would also be allowed to carry passengers throughout its stay in India.
Another positive change would be the incentives to the MRO sector, such as the customs exemptions on a wider variety of equipment and tools required to be imported by a MRO service provider and customs duty on aircraft imported for undertaking repairs which has also been completely exempted. This will give an impetus to the government’s initiative to make India an MRO hub.
The government is focusing on ease of doing business. Did Honeywell see any change?
As part of ease of doing business, the government has constituted a task force for re-evaluating human resources in the government and in autonomous bodies which will help in effective and efficient governance. We also feel that accelerating investments in infrastructure will also act as an enabler for ease of doing business.
As a business with a long legacy in India, we support initiatives that promote more resourceful ways to continue and grow our operation.
How can India reduce its complete dependence on imports of aircraft and parts? How can Honeywell contribute to that?
Currently, aircraft parts exported from India are subject to multiple checks and must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA). Foreign companies have recognized the domestic engineering and production proficiencies, choosing to outsource manufacturing work to India. In addition, Indian manufacturers are now exporting various parts of aircraft and helicopters to countries including the US, the UK, the UAE, Singapore, Ireland and Turkey.
By working with our partners, we create many components used nose-to-tail on aircraft in India. These are either exported immediately or become available for export, based on market demands. For example, we have a 40-year partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, which manufactures our TPE331 turboprop engine for domestic use and exporting. In 2014, we signed an agreement with Tata Power SED to enable manufacturing under licence of our TALIN inertial land navigator system for military ground-based platforms.
What is the kind of procurement process from India for Honeywell?
Due to the longevity of our business in India, we have a robust and well-established business and logistical processes, this includes procurement. We work to ensure that our manufacturing, procurement, and commercial capabilities are perfectly aligned and not only support our business but recognize regional initiatives such as such as Make In India.
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