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Manufacturing base, billion dollar investment in India over 10 years: Airbus news
24 March 2009

New Delhi: European aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus Industrie intends to establish a manufacturing base in India over the next three-four years, a top company official said Tuesday.

"We don't want to copy what we have done in China (having an aircraft manufacturing base there). China started more on the manufacturing side, but the biggest development in India was on engineering and services sector.

"... But we plan to develop manufacturing base in India in the next three to four years," Eric Zenin, head of Airbus business development and international cooperation, told reporters here.

Airbus, director, international cooperation, Swaminathan Dwarakanath, said the company would invest about $1 billion in India over the next 10 years if it found the "right partners and the right projects" as part of its globalisation plans.

According to executive vice-president, Christian Scherer, Airbus planned to sub-contract up to 20 per cent of aero structures and 30 per cent of engineering services offshore by 2020 and "India will get a large chunk of this business". This is part of its move to shift portions of its manufacturing operations out of Europe.

Scherer pointed out that Airbus Industrie already had five engineering centres outside Europe -- two in the US and one each in Bangalore, Beijing and Russia.

Referring to business in India, he said state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was manufacturing a large number of aircraft doors, mainly for A-320s. He said about 50 per cent of these doors would be produced by HAL over the next couple of years.

Dwarakanath pointed out that the engineering centre at Bangalore was already developing advanced capabilities in modelling and simulation, including areas like flight management systems, aero dynamics and digital simulation.

He also revealed that Indian IT firms were working on "high-end activities" like crash worthiness analysis of the A-380s, their wings and electronic harness design for the A-350, which was yet to be produced.

Airbus currently has 347 aircraft of different makes on order from India where it commands a market share of 68 per cent. It has projected orders for 992 aircraft from India up to 2026, including about 60 large-sized aircraft such as the jumbo A-380s.

As for cancellations from India as a result of the economic downturn Scherer said a few Kingfisher Airlines orders for A-340s were shifted to another country.

Scherer said Airbus' parent company EADS had set up a joint venture with AI to establish a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in India.

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Manufacturing base, billion dollar investment in India over 10 years: Airbus