HAL has orders worth Rs 64,000 cr: CMD

HAL has orders worth Rs 64,000 cr: CMD

HAL's new Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan

State-owned aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has orders worth Rs 64,000 crore, giving it enough work for the next four years. Reports of its depleting order book are grossly exaggerated. 

This was the message the HAL's new Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan sought to convey at his first media interaction after taking office. "These are confirmed orders pending execution. We are comfortable. We don't have any shortage of work," he said. 

In a bind after the Rafale contract was handed over to Reliance, will the HAL feel the heat once the current orders dry up? "The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1 supplies will start in 2021. We are also expecting orders for the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)," Madhavan said. 

Besides, the Rs 7,000-crore contract for Sukhoi-30 (Su-30) engines is a running order. "This adds to my sales. Every year, it comes as a support system for the Indian Air Force." However, this order, being executed at the HAL's Sukhoi Complex in Nashik, is expected to last only another 17 months. What next? 

Nashik will not shut shop, clarified Madhavan. "Another line of LCA will be brought up there. As of now, we have a line that makes eight LCAs per year. We want to enhance this to 16 and then to 20 a year. We are investing Rs 1,300 crore to augment the LCA's annual production from eight to 16. Our order book is for 83 aircraft." 

Pending IAF dues

The armed forces owe the HAL about Rs 9,000 crore for services provided until November 2017. The IAF owes about 80% of these dues. But Madhavan said that about Rs 2,000 crore have now been paid. A shortfall in the defence budget and pending foreign dues were cited as key factors.  

No pact yet on reopening HAL airport

Reopening the HAL airport for commercial flights will depend a lot on whether the HAL and the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) can strike a deal on remunerations. 

Despite ongoing talks, an agreement to this effect has proved elusive, as HAL Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan said on Friday. The HAL airport was closed for commercial flights once the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) opened in 2008. 

Negotiations are currently on to fix how the revenues will be shared, whether the old airport will be leased and if the HAL can operate the Air Traffic Control (ATC). Madhavan declined to elaborate on the flights. He only said: "That will be decided by the BIAL, they will tell us whether they want to shift one airline here or what they want." 

Under a concession agreement with the state government, the civil aviation ministry and the BIAL, it was decided that no commercial airport will be allowed to operate within a 150-km radius of the Kempegowda airport for 25 years.