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Every one of our commercial aircraft today is partly made in India: Airbus’s Rémi Maillard

‘Make in India’ is at the heart of Airbus’s business strategy for the country, says​ Rémi Maillard, President and MD of Airbus India and South Asia.

August 30, 2021 / 09:58 AM IST

India’s contribution to Airbus's global products through the supply of components and services is worth more than $650 million annually, said Rémi Maillard, President and MD of Airbus India and South Asia, in an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol. “We Make in India, Design in India, Procure in India, Train in India and Innovate in India. Today, every commercial aircraft or helicopter that Airbus manufactures has parts, design or technology coming from India,” said Maillard. Edited excerpts:

Do Indian suppliers have a big role in the manufacture of the various civil aircraft that you make?

For us, India is a base, a strategic resource hub for emerging technologies, world-class talent and the research and development that power the aerospace sector. With its vast engineering and IT talent pool, India offers the right mix of competency and competitiveness. We are already leveraging these advantages to contribute to our global programmes.

Also Read: Made in India, flying all over the world

‘Make in India’ is at the heart of the Airbus business strategy for the country, and we are proud to say that every Airbus commercial aircraft manufactured today is partly made in India. We not only support 7,000 jobs but are also constantly increasing India’s contribution to our global products through procurement of both components and services worth more than $650 million/year from more than 45 Indian suppliers.

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What types of components do Indian companies make?

Indian companies are an integral part of Airbus’ global supply chain and contribute to a range of Airbus aircraft programmes. Dynamatic Technologies from India is the single-source Tier 1 supplier for the assembly of Flap Track Beams (FTBs) for the A330 Family and recently completed 150 shipset FTB assemblies. Dynamatic Technologies has also partnered with Airbus’ Tier-1 supplier Spirit Aerostructures for the assembly of FTBs for the A320 Family. FTBs are instrumental to control the speed, direction and balance of the aircraft.

Aequs Aerospace has India’s first vertically integrated aerospace manufacturing ecosystem and co-located capabilities to cater to end-to-end manufacturing value streams. Aequs Manufacturing is the largest supplier from India, providing machined parts, forgings & aerostructures both as a Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier to Airbus.

In addition, subsidiaries of the Tatas such as Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), Tata Advanced Materials Limited (TAML) and Tata Automation Ltd (TAL) are producing various parts for multiple aircraft programmes. Mahindra Aerostructures has been developed as a Tier 1 supplier of sheet metal parts for Airbus.

Other Indian manufacturers such as CIM Tools, Wipro Infrastructures and Sansera supply machined and sheet metal parts to Airbus as Tier 2 suppliers. Besides these, global Tier 1s also supply Airbus through their subsidiaries in India. The key ones are Raytheon Technologies (ex-UTAS) for cargo loading & evacuation systems, GKN for harnesses and TE Connectivity for connectors. Many other global majors like Magellan, Gardner, Eaton, Lauak, etc. have also engaged with us in India on different Airbus programmes.

Is there any instance of a design for any type of aircraft or part from India?

Our engineering centre in Bengaluru is a critical design and technology hub for Airbus alongside our state-of-the-art information management centre. Operational since 2007, the Airbus Engineering Centre in Bengaluru has more than 600 engineers working across both fixed- and rotary-wing Airbus aircraft programmes (A320, A330, A350 XWB, A380 and helicopters). The teams are also involved in Airbus defence and space activities as well as with NAVBLUE, a leading global provider of flight operations solutions.

Also Read: Our sourcing from India is at approximately $1 billion today: Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India

Airbus is continuously working towards upscaling the skills of its engineers in new areas, including agile methods of development and digitalisation. The developed capabilities are critical factors in the design and production of high-performance aircraft. Leading Indian companies such as Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Tata, Cyient, HCL, L&T and Wipro provide IT and engineering services to several Airbus programmes. Airbus also engages with global majors through their centres in India. They include Accenture, HP, Capgemini, Expleo, Alten, Sopra Steria and Umlaut.

How much of the various types of aircraft that are made is Indian?

Airbus is constantly increasing the country’s contribution to its global product portfolio. Our local footprint in sourcing, engineering, innovation, maintenance and training services is a testament to our commitment to developing the local ecosystem — we Make in India, Design in India, Procure in India, Train in India and Innovate in India. Today, every commercial aircraft or helicopter that Airbus manufactures has parts, design or technology coming from India.

There is an Airbus 320 production line in China. Why is it that Boeing and Airbus do not produce aircraft in India?

We have proposed to set up Final Assembly Lines for our products in India. In the frame of the ongoing support to modernise the Indian armed forces, the C295 has been offered to replace the IAF’s ageing Avro fleet. As part of that programme, Airbus has offered to manufacture the C295 aircraft in India in partnership with the Tata group. We have also offered to set up a final assembly line for Panther helicopters as part of the Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) programme. Once they materialise, these could become the first aircraft final assembly facilities in the private sector.

In addition, given its large engineering and IT talent pool, India should be prepared and take an active part in the development of next-generation zero-emission aircraft, such as the Airbus ZeroE, which will rely on disruptive, decarbonised technologies and advanced digitalisation.
Ashwini Phadnis Senior journalist based in New Delhi
first published: Aug 30, 2021 09:27 am
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