Wednesday, April 14, 2010

U.S Wants To Build Airports In India

Aviation Daily Apr 14 , 2010 , p. 13
Neelam Mathews

U.S Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue tells India's business leaders in New Delhi that "there has never been a better time or opportunity to lift U.S.-India trade and investment relations to a whole new level."

As the Indian aviation industry bounces back and the government looks at an intensive airport upgrade and expansion program, Donohue said, “we want to build many of your airports.”

GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), which provides financing for the world's airports, is said to be open to investments in regional jets and airport infrastructure, given the right opportunity, The DAILY has learned.

GECAS seems to be a natural choice, with its experience in airport financing projects, including construction and permanent financing for a cargo facility at a U.S. international airport and debt-and-equity financing for a terminal acquisition and expansion in Latin America.

A long association with aviation, equipment leasing and real estate will enable the company to provide financing services for governments or private-sector owners and developers of airports.

“The growth in air traffic worldwide and the need to upgrade, expand and modernize the infrastructure at the majority of the world’s airports over the next decade offers GECAS an opportunity to offer creative financing solutions to a variety of customers worldwide,” its web site states.

GECAS’s debt-and-equity financing efforts are focused on airport acquisition, construction and expansion, project financing for airport facilities, such as terminals, cargo facilities and parking structures, as well as ground-handling and security equipment and systems.

Donohue pointed out a great deal of progress has been made on the air traffic management system in India, which also has signed an open-skies agreement with the U.S.

He called for both nations to reject protectionism and asked India to look at reducing taxes on transportation equipment and aviation technology and lift caps on foreign investment in defense.

Aviation Minister Praful Patel says he does not see many U.S companies interested in investing in India’s infrastructure, including airports. “Perhaps it is because they have not found the right partner. Opportunities are aplenty here, given that aerospace comprises 15% of trade with the U.S.”

“What is in it for us? India’s bureaucratic clearances and a lack of transparency in deals could be a reason why investment has not happened,” a senior company official tells The DAILY.

“The smartest way to build success is to act quickly. It is time to start writing the next chapter in the positive U.S.-India commercial relationship, with the private sectors in both countries leading the way,” says Donohue.

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