GE ready to explore turboprop market in India

GE ready to explore turboprop market in India

Company is all set to partner with HAL's RTA programme

GE ready to explore turboprop market in India

 GE Aviation in India, part of the $24-billion global aviation division of GE which provides aircraft engines and systems to different civil and military aircraft applications, on Tuesday announced its game plan to focus on the $20-billion turboprop aviation market in India.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, GE Aviation and Transportation CEO and President (South Asia) Nalin Jain said  the government’s plan to open up 50 more regional airports will give huge business opportunity.

“In India, the travelling distance between two airports is below 500 nautical miles. So we do not want long-haulage jet engine-powered aircraft. So sub-100 seater aircraft which should fly below 25,000 metres is enough.”

He said for such short sector turboprop will be an efficient solution from both speed and cost standpoint. The current turboprop fleet in India is less than 100. “In the next two decades, India will need around 600 aircraft. Each of these planes will cost around $40 million and put together it gives an opportunity of $20 billion approximately at an aircraft level,” he said.

While 20 to 25 per cent of this revenue will come from engine production, the servicing sector can contribute $5 billion to $12 billion.

He said GE has the capability to develop next generation turboprop engine with high fuel efficiency and low operating costs which an airline look for. “We are ready to co-operate with HAL for its regional transport aircraft programme by giving the engine and avionic suite as per their requirement,” he said.

On partnering with HAL, he said the PSU behemoth is a production agency for the LCA programme. “But if you ask me are they our partner, I would say they are.  “We are a partner of HAL in the LCA Mark 1 and II. For Mark II we will do transfer of technology for the engine on the GE-F414INS6 in the near future.”he said.

On HAL’s endeavour to focus on research and development (R&D), he said GE is willing to collaborate and it will depend on the business case and programme specifics. “HAL is our licensed partner for assembly inspection and testing for LM 2500 gas turbine for Shivalik class frigates  and the first Indian aircraft carrier that is being built in the Cochin Shipyard,” he said.

GE last week announced opening a new plant at Chakan in Maharashtra and committed a total investment of $200 million in India, and it will also explore the possibility to invest in the railway sector.

““When countries develop indigenous aircraft programmes it is advisable to go for globally established programmes like the F414 engine as it is a low risk option. The scale of programme will bring expertise and the required technology. We can bring a globalised reliable platform for the delivery and success of the programme,” he said.

On growth in India, he said the company grew in double-digits in the last fiscal and it will register the same growth in the current fiscal also.

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