Stage set for India’s first civil aviation expo

October 14th, 2008 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Oct 14 (IANS) The stage is set for India’s first international exhibition and conference on civil aviation, India Aviation 2008, which is beginning here Wednesday.Top honchos of 35 major global aviation companies and ministerial-level delegations from 17 countries will participate in the four-day conference, jointly organised by the ministry of civil aviation and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), with the US being the partner country.

The Begumpet Airport, which was shut down in March after a new international airport became operational at Shamshabad near here, is all decked up to host the event, which will showcase the development of Indian civil aviation sector.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will inaugurate the event, which is expected to help India become a major aviation hub in the near future.

This will be preceded by a fly-past by Surya Kirans from the Indian Air Force, para sailing, para-jumping and hot air ballooning by Aero Club of India.

Before the inaugural ceremony, the minister will have an interaction with more than 35 chief executives of major aviation companies. “The closed-door session will provide an opportunity to CEOs to discuss their future plans and policy issues with the minister and senior officials of the ministry,” Civil Aviation Joint Secretary Arun Mishra said.

The top honchos participating in the event include Boeing Aircraft Trading president Dinesh Keskar, Airbus executive vice-president (marketing and contracts, customer affairs) Kiran Rao, Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes, Aerospace Industries Association of the US president Marion Blakey, Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya and Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal.

More than 200 exhibitors from leading aviation and allied industries from around the world including Airbus, Boeing, EADS, HAL, BES, Rolls Royce, Engine Alliance, Cessna Aircraft Co, Bell Helicopter, Textron, ATR and Bombardier are participating in the exhibition.

“It is going to be a mega event which will take Indian civil aviation on a global platform. It will be a major step for globalisation of India’s civil aviation,” Air India executive director (corporate communications) Jitender Bhargava said.

“Being a multi-faceted company, Air India will be looking for a major role in the expansion of India’s civil aviation sector,” he added.

Several major business announcements are likely during the event. NACIL (Air India) will sign maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) joint venture agreement with EADS, an Airbus company, Oct 16.

As many as 37 international and domestic aircraft, including the world’s largest aircraft Airbus Industries’ A-380, will be on display. Airbus A-380 from France will land at the venue Oct 16. The aircraft, which can cover three-fourth of football ground under its wingspan, will be on static display for one day.

An Airbus A-319 will arrive from Germany Oct 15. Air India chairman and managing director Raghu Menon will take possession of the aircraft which would be inducted into Air India’s growing fleet.

Aircraft like Boeing 777, Airbus A-330, Learjet, Global Express, Challenger, CRJ-900 (Bombardier), Gulfstream, Ilyushin, Hawker and Beechcraft will also be on display.

A key feature of the event would be Indian Civil Aviation Museum, which will give a historical perspective of India’s civil aviation sector. Rare photographs dating back to the birth of Indian civil aviation in 1932 and models of aircraft used by Air Indian in the last 75 years would be on display.

While the first three days of the event would be only for business visitors, it would be thrown open for general public on the last day to give them a real sense of Indian aviation.

The organisers expect 10,000 to 12,000 business visitors during three days and 25,000 to 30,000 people on the last day.

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