Aequs to foray into making aircraft seats with a new unit

Aequs is one of the key contract manufacturing players in the country involved in the manufacturing of aerostructures and aerosystem components.
Last Updated : 07 August 2023, 00:17 IST
Last Updated : 07 August 2023, 00:17 IST

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Starting out as a small scale producer in 2009, the aerospace arm of Aequs Pvt Ltd has come a long way to producing over 1,500 aircraft parts in a cluster of 32 units at the Belgavi SEZ and is presently gearing to foray into aircraft interiors, with an unit for making aircraft seats. 

Revealing this during an exclusive interview to DH, Aravind Melligeri, the chief executive and founder of Aequs Private Ltd, refused to elaborate on the project details except to indicate that the new unit too would come up at the Belgavi cluster.

As reported earlier by DH, the Indian commercial aerospace manufacturing industry is currently limited to manufacturing components and sub-assemblies for global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and tier-1 and tier-2 players in the global supply chain.

Aequs is one of the key contract manufacturing players in the country involved in the manufacturing of aerostructures and aerosystem components. The company set up a precision engineering SEZ in Belagavi, Karnataka back in 2009, before it set up the Belagavi Aerospace Cluster (BAC).

“We will have an annual machining capacity of two million hours (from the present 1.2 million) in the next five years,” Melligeri informed. Earlier in June, during the Paris Air Show, global aerospace materials supplier Bikar Aerospace, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aequs to establish an advanced Aerospace Service Centre in BAC. 

“I expect sales to increase 25% to approximately Rs 1,200- 1,300 crore in the financial year 2024,” he shared, adding that the company’s aerospace order book is quite robust with visibility through the end of the decade.

The company, which also has units in the US and France, is expanding its portfolio by adding 80-100 new parts every month, the CEO said. On the Indian government’s vision to have the country emerge as a manufacturing hub for aviation, he said that destination is still a good two decades away.

“Manufacturing in aerospace is not everybody’s cup of tea as the industry has its own set of challenges such as programme risks, development risks and substantial upfront investments,” he observed, adding that the long gestation to getting returns on these investments is particularly challenging. 

“While India has taken significant strides in aerospace ER&D (Engineering Research & Development), capturing almost 50% of the global market, it still has a long way to go where aerospace manufacturing R&D is concerned,” he also pointed. 

Apart from the BAC, Aequs also manufactures toys and consumer products in its Koppal Toy Cluster (KTC) and the Hubballi Durable Goods Cluster (HDC) in Karnataka. In April this year, the company raised Rs 225 crore ($27.5 Mn) - its maiden effort at seeking external funding. Melligeri pointed to the dearth of investment support mechanism tailored for the sector, as has been done for the semiconductor industry.

He also called for a national-level policy for the aerospace sector. ”We have a plethora of state-level aerospace policies. But these are standalone approaches with interventions specific to these states. I feel there is a need for a holistic and nationwide focus on the industry through a National Aerospace Policy with a long-term objective of nurturing a program for national commercial aircraft that can compete globally,” he pointed out.

Published 07 August 2023, 00:17 IST

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