Thursday, July 19, 2018

India's Airports Poised for Further Development

India's Airports Poised for Further Development

 - July 11, 2018, 8:30 AM

As India struggles with infrastructure issues related to congestion at airports hard-pressed to deal with air traffic growing at 16 percent per year, capacity needs to be developed through a blend of improved efficiency of present resources and investment in new infrastructure. Recognizing this, Mumbai-based Maharashtra Airport Authority Co. (MADC, Hall 2, Booth 2538) is scouting for new relationships for its ambitious plan to support airport development in the western state of India.
“We are here to showcase development of small airports and look for partners that create a value-add for a new unit we have created to improve regional connectivity from small airports in our state to other states,” said MADC marketing manager Atul Thakare. This is the newest initiative in India to support the federal government’s successful Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) that aims to connect underserved, unserved, and remote airports through a subsidy and tax concessions. The scheme is also called Udan, which translates to “let the common man fly.”
“MADC is the nodal agency, and many of our airports have been included in the RCS," said Thakare. "We are offering them a consultancy and have already had a couple of rounds of meetings with airlines, giving them a marketing case to fly probable routes to those airports." MADC was formed 16 years ago to develop a multi-modal international hub airport at Nagpur and aviation infrastructure in the state for regional air connectivity. Of the present 10 airports, work is underway for upgrades, a new greenfield airport, and expansion at some of the airports. In Nagpur, which is also a special economic zone that offers tax benefits, there is a General Electric testing facility and a Boeing MRO facility. Thakare said a request for proposal would soon be released for upgrades of the airport. Land acquisition for a greenfield airport near Pune at Purandar has begun, following completion of a feasibility study by Germany’s Dorche.
New airports will undoubtedly be required. Several cities will require second airports, said think-tank Center for Asia Pacific (CAPA) in its report, Resetting India’s Airport Planning & Execution Framework, released in June. Given the timelines associated with airport development, greenfield airports are not the solution to the capacity challenge that will be faced over the next five to seven years, the report noted. Instead, near-term challenges will be most effectively addressed by increasing the productivity of existing assets. According to the report, “Mumbai Airport is an example of what is possible, for example, when the airport operator and the [airport authority and ANSP] collaborate to enhance airside efficiency. The airport has a declared handling capacity of 48 hourly aircraft movements (and regularly handles more than 50) on what is effectively a single-runway operation.”

IAI TaxiBots Are Heading To Delhi and Mumbai

Neelam Mathews
JULY 17, 2018
FIA 18

New Delhi and Mumbai International Airports will soon be operating environmentally friendly Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) TaxiBot vehicles. IAI's agreement with Delhi-based KSU Aviation includes the first phase of the contract to carry out controlled trials at the airports till end 2018. The second phase includes delivery of 38 additional vehicles within four years to the two airports.
TaxiBot is a semi-robotic vehicle that connects to the aircraft and is controlled by the pilot to taxi the airplane from the airport’s jet bridge (“sleeve”) to the runway without using the aircraft's jet engines.
In October, TaxiBot was officially certified by the U.S. FAA for dispatch towing for the Boeing 737 family. The system does not require any modification in airplane systems, APU replacement, added weight, or cargo space, according to the company. “The pilot is in control at all times after pushback using the airplane's tiller and brakes, transparent to the pilot,” it noted.
The final tests of the vehicles designated for New Delhi Airport are being completed at Germany's Frankfurt Airport with the support of Lufthansa, Lufthansa Engineering and Operational Services (LEOS), and ground support equipment company TLD, in collaboration with IAI.
The two Indian private metro airports are working hard to adhere to strict standards for emissions set by the government. Recently, GVK Mumbai International Airport became one of the two airports in Asia-Pacific to achieve a three-year extension of Airports Council International's (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) "Level 3+ Neutrality" certification.
Hauling of the aircraft by the TaxiBot saves 85 percent of the fuel consumed during standard taxi and provides a similar reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by the aircraft's main engines. The TaxiBot also reduces noise levels by 60 percent and foreign object damage (FOD) by 50 percent as foreign objects can’t be sucked into the aircraft engines if they are not running.
“We trust the TaxiBot will prove itself effective in reducing air pollution, which is intensifying due to the fast growth of India’s aviation market, with the significant savings in fuel…and improvement in the gates congestion. We believe this agreement will open the path for many more significant contracts for this product worldwide," said Shaul Shahar, IAI executive v-p and general manager of IAI's Military Aircraft Group.

“The use of TaxiBot at Indian airports in the next five years will bring about a saving of $1.5 billion to Indian airlines and reduce environmental damage of greenhouse gases by four million tons,”  explained Yogesh  Sethi, the founder KSU Aviation.

HAL Faces Growing Competition in Home Market

Neelam Mathews
july 17, 2018

As the Indian aerospace and defense manufacturing ecosystem slowly moves towards the "Make in India" initiative along with policy changes to support it, the landscape is likely to prove challenging to government-owned manufacturers such as Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL, Chalet K7). Private industry is bringing competition and manufacturing capabilities are being enhanced, presenting growth opportunities for Indian defense manufactures such as Tata Group, Mahindra Defense Systems, Dynamatic Technologies, and Larsen & Toubro.
HAL continues to be the market leader as India relies on imports to meet 70 percent of its defense requirements, with the remaining 30 percent met by domestic companies. Although India has sought to diversify its procurement sources, with a recent focus on the U.S., Russia continues to dominate Indian defense equipment spares imports, given that around 65 percent of its defense equipment is Russian (and maintained by HAL).
According to HAL's recent annual report, “Combat aircraft [and] helicopters in the light and medium weight categories offer excellent opportunities in the near future. The company has infrastructure and expertise and these will have an edge over competition in the short term.”
HAL said it is working on collaboration with OEMs, research laboratories, and academic institutions to enhance the company’s future product portfolio, including projects like the advance light helicopter weaponized version, light combat helicopter, and light utility helicopter. In addition, the basic trainer aircraft, Hindustan turbofan engine, UAVs, Jaguar Darin III upgrade, and Mirage 2000 upgrade “are moving closer to fruitfulness, and these projects are expected to lead the company to expand its business horizon over a period of the next 10 to 15 years,” the company added.
Recently, HAL completed the first green helicopter for the Indian Coast Guard, including the installation of basic systems. HAL's contract with the coast guard includes performance-based logistics support for five years. Deliveries of 16 fixed-landing gear helicopters to boost low-intensity maritime operations and coast security capabilities are scheduled to start in 2020.
Civil Inroads
HAL claims to have “made significant progress towards diversification into the civil segment” to leverage the growth prospects of India’s civil aviation sector, which is growing at 16 percent per year. The progress of the regional connectivity scheme that connects remote and underserved airports to larger cities has driven HAL to offer its Dornier Do-228 civil variant, a 20-seat light transport for short-haul flights. Recently, a HAL built Do-228 was delivered to the president of the Republic of Seychelles to assist in policing its economic zone. The aircraft is fitted with 360-degree surveillance radar, forward-looking infrared system, satcom, traffic alert and collision avoidance system, enhanced ground proximity warning system, and other customer-specified sensors.    
A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis carried out by HAL identified potential focus areas in the external environment of the organization. While its strengths include a long credible history, manufacturing and MRO services, and four decades of experience in life-cycle support, limitations remain. R.K. Tyagi, president of the Aeronautical Society of India and former chairman of HAL, recently called for more emphasis to be placed on meeting the emerging human-resource challenges in aviation and aerospace, in view of the growth potential of the sector during the coming decades. Tyagi said there will be a need for one million professionals in the aviation sector in the next decade. 

HAL has acknowledged that “dependence on Indian defense customers and on foreign suppliers for critical technologies and raw materials, a weak supply chain system, and a lack of diversified product portfolio” are a constraint to growth. Opportunities are being tapped to serve a fast-growing civil aviation market, with an emphasis on manufacturing, the export market for light helicopters, and HAL being a “single-window solution provider, an OEM of major platforms.” 

Dynamatic Technologies Grows UK Business

Neelam Mathews
July17, 2018

With three manufacturing facilities in the UK and sister plants around the globe, India-listed Dynamatic Technologies (Hall 1, Booth 1340) has “turned the industry on its head,” Udayant Malhoutra, managing director and CEO, lightheartedly suggested to AIN. His company has taken a revolutionary path and in a decade become a tier 1 sole supplier to the Airbus A320 family. Dynamaticrecently delivered the first commercial set of A330 flap track beams produced jointly in the UK and India. The facility has one of the largest and most flexible automated cells in Europe with robot loading and unloading of 5-axis machine tools producing monolithic components.
Boeing's co-production partnership with Dynamatic includes the manufacture of aft pylon and cargo ramp assemblies for the CH-47F Chinook and the P8-I Poseidon. The company also produces the fuselage for the Bell 407.
“We are investing and growing business in the UK, which is unique in some ways," said Malhoutra. "Bristol, which is the center of design production, is also the sweet spot of precision engineering. By putting robots there, we have trebled the headcount into artificial intelligence and advanced robotics since we invested. We are not shipping products back to India for assembly."
While most companies in India venturing into aerospace start at the lowest rung of the manufacturing ladder, Dynamatic chose the hybrid path. “We started with a clean sheet to see what operations were cost-effective and where,” he said. India was identified as offering the best value in 3D engineering at Bangalore with “a young class of talent that provided world-class artisanal skills.” Europe was chosen for its machining skills, “which are not cost-effective in India.” The company has also entered into a partnership with Germany's ThyssenKrupp Aerospace for raw materials, global logistics, and supply chain management. The service center stores an entire range of materials used in the aviation industry: aluminum, titanium, and steel, speeding delivery of products cut and machined precisely to customer specifications.
While companies in India are increasingly acquiring western aerospace companies mainly for access to customers for sales, Malhoutra said, “We bought business in Europe that feeds into our supply chain as we have to now grow this business dramatically on a global scale.” One of the partnerships has been with tool manufacturer DMG Mori. The company has invested heavily with DMG and has two of the largest machines that DMG manufactures, with one in Bangalore. “We are provided materials at speeds our competitors cannot dream of," he said. "We are networking with the best rather than becoming a big industrial monolith.

“This is just the beginning. It is a transformation. One can choose to grow or change. We decided to change first,” said Malhoutra.
Neelam Mathews

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has signed letters of intent for six Boeing 787-9s with General Electric GEnx-1B engines and 13 Airbus A320/A321neos with CFM Leap 1-A engines. The order is valued at $3.1billion at list prices. In addition, Vistara will add a further 37 new leased A320neo-family models, taking the fleet of its A320neo-family to 50.
“We have not yet signed a definitive agreement which is the next step,” Vistara CEO Leslie Thng told AIN. The A320neo family will step up Vistara’s domestic network and support expansion on regional (short-haul) international routes. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery from next year's first quarter until 2023. Its 787-9s for medium-haul and long-haul international routes are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2021, Thng added.
The company believes the 787-9 is “the best fit for us to support the expansion roadmap we have envisaged for Vistara,” said Thng, noting the selection of the A320neo family ensures “a continuation in terms of the 21 aircraft we already have.” Bangkok and Singapore could be Vistara’s first international regional destinations, a lessor told AIN. “The flying range of the Boeing 787-9, presents many possibilities, and we’re still in the process of finalizing the destinations that Vistara will fly to,” said Thng. London could be one of the initial destinations, AIN has learned.
Vistara is in the process of seeking necessary approvals from authorities to start international operations. Thng said SIA as a partner “will be a natural choice for us when we fly to destinations in the Southeast Asia region to tap into their extensive network. Likewise, when we start flying to destinations in other continents, we will look for like-minded partners to mutually gain from partnerships.” However, she added, “Vistara will not be a feeder airline to SIA. India’s [domestic] aviation market has tremendous opportunities for us to grow.”

While Delhi will continue to be Vistara’s primary hub, “as we expand our network, we do not rule out the possibility of having secondary hubs for our domestic, as well as international, operations.”

Quest Digital Threads Services across Manufacturing


Quest Digital Threads Services across Manufacturing

 - July 15, 2018, 6:00 AM
 Singapore-headquartered Quest Global (Hall 1, Booth #1570), a pure-play engineering services company, is showcasing augmented reality solutions that it calls "futuristic aerospace solutions," such as AR360 for repairs, Internet of Things (IoT) based asset tracking to maximize operational efficiency for aero OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, and a cabin surveillance system with deep learning and digital engineering.
The company offers mechanical, electrical, electronics, embedded, engineering software, engineering analytics, manufacturing and supply chain solutions across the complete engineering lifecycle. Co-founder, chairman, and CEO Ajit Prabhu said: “Our ‘local-global’ model enables maximum value interactions and high-quality deliveries at optimal cost.” The company has 8,700 specialists operating from 13 countries. “We will continue to extend our position into adjacent vertical markets……Our acquisition of Exilant Technologies is strategic as Quest broadens our customer base and expertise to meet our customers’ needs in rapidly changing markets.”
The company has also developed proprietary predictive tools based on advanced analytics and has an understanding of the complex supply chain of Aero Engine production, ensuring high reliability in meeting production targets. Leveraging its expertise and strong talent pool, Quest has partnered with engine OEMs such as Rolls-Royce, General Electric, and Safran Aircraft Engines, empowering them with pivotal support services ranging from design, development, and manufacturing engineering to aftermarket services.
As aerospace OEMs increasingly look for end-to-end engineering services, “It is important for us to continue to engineer solutions that leverage the latest digital technologies for bringing the next level of quality and performance to our new and existing customers. With key organizations and global influencers all under one roof, Farnborough International Show is the perfect platform for us to showcase our services portfolio, which will equip global industry leaders to take up the challenges and opportunities in Aerospace 4.0,” said Steve Gerber, senior vice president and global industry head aerospace and defense, Quest Global.  
Looking at expanding its geographic silhouette with Tier 1 companies and additional OEMs, Quest has been adding digital capabilities to its technical services portfolio through a series of acquisitions over the past years. In the past six months the company acquired Bangalore-base IT company Exilant Technologies, Detech Fahrzeugentwicklung in Germany, IT Six Global in Romania, and Mobiliya Technologies in Singapore.
In June Quest signed a definitive agreement to acquire Barcelona-based Engineering Community, adding the sought-after capability of research and development in the manufacturing cycle of new products. “Our customers are leaders in their respective industries, and this acquisition will help us provide them with lower cost solutions in Europe. We are investing heavily in building digital competencies to help our customers innovate and shrink their product development cycle and also bring new solutions to their market,” said Prabhu.

Rolls-Royce-TCS Look at a Digitized Future

 - July 13, 2018, 9:00 AM

Pix R2 Data Lab in Bangalore is a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Tata Consultancy Services.

Rolls-Royce India (Hall 4, Stand 41394; Chalet Row D3), along with partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS, Hall 1 1320), is expanding future data innovation opportunities in India with the establishment of R2 Data Lab in Bangalore. “It looks at capturing, sharing, and analyzing data across Rolls-Royce so that new products and services can be developed to deliver further value to customers, improve existing services, and create new areas of growth,” Kishore Jayraman, president, Rolls-Royce, India and South Asia, told AIN. The workforce currently stands at 30 data scientists and engineers and eight application developers, and that number will be increased to 100 by year-end.
Rolls-Royce and TCS have been working in partnership on engineering services since 2010. TCS recently opened a new customer delivery center in Derby, the UK, dedicated to servicing Rolls-Royce. It will also provide support from its Global Delivery Centers Rolls-Royce sites across the UK, Germany, Nordics, Canada, Singapore, and India. 
Rolls-Royce's track record of data gathering and analyzing includes Engine Health Monitoring system that has helped improve management of engine fleet around the world, while significantly reducing disruption for its aerospace customers. Recent initiatives such as Intelligent Engine Lifing provide an accurate assessment of part life consumption and fast and frequent Maintenance Forecasting and Fleet Risk Assessment.
Neil Crockett, chief digital officer at Rolls-Royce, said at the launch: “This is an example of how we intend to unleash data innovation through collaboration. TCS is an outstanding partner with experience in delivering a flexible and agile platform capability across different markets.” The digital transformation for Rolls-Royce will be supported by TCS ‘Connected Universe’ Platform—a platform-as-a-service offering that accelerates the development and deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. As part of the agreement, TCS will provide IoT digital platform capability, allowing data to be captured, shared and analyzed more quickly across Rolls-Royce so that new products and services can be developed at a fast pace. This will enable Rolls-Royce to use data to innovate within all of its businesses and collaborate more effectively with partners and customers.
Jayaraman said, “We are creating a ‘digital thread’ from design to manufacturing and through to in-service use to after-market, with the ultimate goal of catering to customer needs in a new and more efficient way."
Rolls-Royce has numerous projects aimed at implementing its digital strategy holistically. It is, for instance, upgrading its manufacturing sites worldwide and making use of augmented reality on shop floors to enhance safety, maintenance, and performance.
On another note, Tata Sons is consolidating businesses across aerospace and defense under a composite Tata Aerospace and Defense (Tata A&D). The new company will leverage capabilities across the group, bringing weapon systems, land mobility, sensors, and command, control, communication, and more under one umbrella.