How Indian talent is giving wings to growth plans of both Boeing and Airbus


CEO, GMR Aero Technic, Ashok Gopinath, Boeing India President Salil Gupte, CEO – GHIAL and Board of Director for GMR Aero Technic, Pradeep Panicker and others pose for a photo during MoU signing ceremony, at Taj Mahal hotel, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI)

India’s long-term forecasted growth in air traffic, and availability of a large pool of skilled aviation technicians and engineers, position it well to become a key regional player in the commercial aviation sector

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Hyderabad

In a major boost to India-US business cooperation, Boeing recently announced an agreement with GMR Aero Technic to establish a new Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) line in Hyderabad. Boeing has more than 40 years of experience in passenger-to-freighter conversions. According to a release from Boeing, the collaboration adds to its continued investments to support cargo growth and help expand complex aircraft modification capabilities and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) in India, supporting India’s aspiration to become an aviation and aerospace hub.

“Our cooperation with GMR Aero Technic not only a testimony of the maturation of Indian MROs in the country to support the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, but also supports the anticipated growth of the cargo sector in the region,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India.

According to Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook, India’s air cargo growth is expected to average 6.3 per cent annually, driven by the country’s manufacturing and e-commerce sectors, including its Make in India initiative. Boeing forecasts demand for more than 75 freighters, including production and converted freighters.

India’s long-term forecasted growth in air traffic, and availability of a large pool of skilled aviation technicians and engineers, position it well to become a key regional player in the commercial aviation sector.

With over eight decades of presence in India, Boeing has built a strong network of support for its customers through various initiatives and partnerships while contributing to the growth and development of the Indian aerospace and defense sector.

“The collaboration with Boeing reaffirms our capability to provide world-class MRO services and further contribute to the “Make in India” initiative. We thank Boeing for the opportunity given and look forward to working together for future initiatives,” said Ashok Gopinath, CEO, GMR Aero Technic.

Meanwhile, another report by Bloomberg says that Boeing as well as Airbus are increasingly looking to India for highly-skilled, low-cost engineers to meet a boom in demand for aircraft and expand their manufacturing presence in the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Airbus plans to hire 1,000 people in India this year out of 13,000 globally. Boeing and its suppliers, which already employ about 18,000 workers in the nation, have been growing by some 1,500 staff every year, the US jet manufacturer’s India head Salil Gupte told Bloomberg News in an interview.

With about 1.5 million engineering students graduating annually, India is a rich source of talent for planemakers facing record orders from airlines as travel surges again after the Covid pandemic. Boeing can hire an engineer in Bengaluru, India’s southern tech hub, for 7% of the cost of a similar role in Seattle, according to salary data compiler Glassdoor.

The country has Boeing’s second-biggest workforce worldwide, Gupte said.

“Companies come to India for the incredible talent in innovation, not just in technology and software, but also in hard engineering and increasingly in manufacturing,” he said at the Aero India show in Bengaluru last month.

Alongside the hiring push, Boeing and Airbus are also establishing some production in India, which is pitching itself as a less politically fraught alternative to China.

Airbus has also been touting India’s manufacturing prospects as it hires in the country. In October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a ceremony in his home state of Gujarat to mark the start of construction of a facility where Airbus Defense & Space SA and a unit of local conglomerate Tata Group will make C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian military.

Airbus employs more than 700 people at an engineering center in Bengaluru, and over 150 others in customer services there as well as in the capital New Delhi. India has a “unique ability” to support the company with its skilled manpower, an Airbus representative told Bloomberg, adding that hiring in the country was “not really” coming at the cost of jobs in other locations.

Companies have for decades looked to India to outsource jobs, from trade settlement to travel bookings. Israel Aerospace Industries, which has worked with partners in India for three decades on air and missile defense systems, drones, satellites and other equipment, is among companies in the sector joining the hiring spree.

“I’m amazed by the talent you find here in India. We are hiring new talent all the time,” Danny Lauber, chief executive officer of Israel Aerospace’s India unit, said in an interview. “I have worked in many places around the world, but I haven’t seen such a strong universe of resources.”

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