New Delhi: The government is considering manufacturing civilian aircraft and would like to move ahead with the plan “very fast", a civil aviation ministry official said on Monday.
The country’s domestic aviation market is one of the fastest growing in the world and has registered high double digit growth for more than two years. Many airlines are embarking on ambitious expansion plans and authorities are working on developing new airports to cater to the rising demand as well as boosting regional air connectivity.
“We are considering manufacturing our own civilian aircraft... definitely, the concept is there and we are looking for smaller aircraft like a 20-seater which can be used within the country and this also is supported by our policy of Make in India," said Shefali Juneja, director at the civil aviation ministry.
Currently, aircraft are imported or taken on lease from overseas lessors. “Developing our own civilian aircraft is something we are considering... and is something which we need to move forward very fast," she said.
She was speaking at the ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit in New Delhi. In efforts to strengthen air connectivity between India and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations, a civil aviation task force is being developed to encourage consultations between the countries. Under the ASEAN-India cooperation framework, a joint working group is being set up and it would initially focus on safety and security aspects, besides air navigation services.
The first meeting of the joint working group is to be held in January 2018, Juneja said. At present, there are no air services between India and four ASEAN countries — Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines and Lao-PDR. Listing out the challenges in the India-ASEAN aviation market, Juneja also said there is “only one-sided operation by ASEAN carriers in India-Myanmar, India-Indonesia, India- Vietnam markets".
ASEAN has 10 members, including include Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei. The summit was jointly organised by industry body CII and ASEAN India Centre.