High on footfall, low on business deals, air show scores on variety

High on footfall, low on business  deals, air show scores on variety

 After a low-key beginning, the biennial Aero India show concluded on a high at the Yelahanka air force station here on Saturday. The last two days had over two lakh people turn out to witness the aerobatics.

Business never reached the highs of the previous shows, but the crowd turnout made up for it. The defence minister had made a strong pitch for ‘Make in India’ at the show’s inaugural on Tuesday. However, no mega defence deals were announced apart from a few joint ventures. There was no official word yet about whether Bengaluru will host ‘Aero India 2019’. Speculations are rife that this could be the last air show in the aviation hub as the defence minister is keen to shift the event to Goa. Official sources said nearly five lakh people have visited the event, including about one lakh business visitors.

Besides 65 ministerial and other high-level delegates from several countries that attended the event, the exhibition at the show saw participation from 549 companies, out of which 270 were Indian and 279 foreign. A five-member Chinese delegation from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force attended the show for the first time.

The show turned out be a huge attraction for aviation aficionados who thronged the event to witness the static and air display by various aircraft, including fighter, transport, helicopter and aerobatic display teams.

Aero India had about 72 aircraft and witnessed enthralling stunts by helicopter display teams ‘Sarang,’ and ‘Surya Kiran,’ Russian-made Yakovlevs and SKYCATS-Scandinavian Air Show aerobatic teams.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)-developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Cheetal helicopter, advanced light helicopters (ALH), light combat helicopter (LCH), Hindustan Turboprop Trainer-40 (HTT-40), Dornier Do 228 along with indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132, named as Hawk-i, and vintage Tiger Moth aircraft performed breathtaking manoeuvres.

Homegrown LCA (Tejas) along with Sukhoi (Russian), Gripen (Swedish), Rafale (French), F16 (US), Pilatus (Swiss) aircraft roared the skies with their daredevilry. Embraer 145 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft equipped with the first-ever Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar, and LUH were displayed for the first time at the show.

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