Airshow, the run(a)way pride

Airshow, the run(a)way pride

The final day of the latest edition of Aero India mirrored the first day, failing expectations in sync with the attitude of the organisers.

If the previous edition was marred by the ‘bribe-for-display’ scam that saw a court of inquiry being initiated against a wing commander rank officer, the one this year was generally a case of missing ‘pride’, which was apparent from February 6, the day the show took off.

The aerial displays were not exactly mesmerising like in the previous editions, although some manoeuvres by the Flying Bulls did not fail to enthrall the spectators.

Hundreds were seen leaving the venue much before the last display was over, a reflection of how attractive the show was. Nothing close to how the organisers pegged it - ‘Bigger’.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) official who was responsible to collate information about the performance of the show – the number of visitors, business-to-business meetings, deals struck, et al – was missing on the scene.

“Sahab ek party mein gaye hain (Sir is at a party),” one of the subordinates of Wing Commander M D Singh told Deccan Herald. Reporters of the paper visited his office at least six times and tried reaching him over telephone many more times.

That the MoD was busy flaunting its success during the show last year, a few days after which the ‘bribe-for-display’ scam became public, is no secret.

This edition, the ‘hype’ for the show was in far off New Delhi. There was no official communication on any of the five days about the show in Bangalore. Officials said information about how this year’s show fared would be officially given later in Delhi.

Vinay Mathur, Deputy Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said nearly 50,000 tickets were sold and over 15,000 complimentary passes were handed out, excluding those given to delegates and media.

While no official figures were released about the footfalls, varying numbers were provided, given that the MoD officials were not available for confirmation.

Some said there were about three lakh visitors, including the delegates, while another official said there were about 1.2 lakh visitors per day and that there were close to 30,000 delegates overall. The Bangalore Traffic Police estimated that 50,000 to 60,000 people came on Sunday.

The Yelahanka Air Force Station, hosting the ninth edition of the Aero India, was surely not the same this year.

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