Aeronautical engineering: India

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Made-in-India passenger aircraft

Dornier 228

Saurabh Sinha, March 30, 2018: The Times of India

This is one make-in-India project that promises to take off soon. A number of small regional flight operators are approaching Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the first made-in-India passenger aircraft - the Dornier 228. This plane was till now made for defence forces and was recently certified for civil use, given the 19-seater's suitability for operating short routes under Modi government's ambitious regional connectivity UDAN scheme.

"The list price of this aircraft is Rs 50-55 crore. On a daily basis we are getting queries from small RCS operators (not big airlines like IndiGo, Jet or SpiceJet which use bigger turboprops). We are in final stages of discussion with them and expect firm orders soon. We have asked the government to give us tax relief for the 100 Dornier made for civil use so that we can achieve economies of scale and are able to lower the price of this plane. We have also asked the aviation ministry to push this make-in-India project," said a senior HAL official.

Some special incentives may be given to operators using this plane to promote this make-in-India project.

HAL currently has a capacity to assemble 12 Dornier 228 at its Kanpur facility and can up to double the number of planes churned out as per demand. However, regional operators are facing one issue with the desi passenger plane. "India as of now does not have companies providing sale and lease back (SLB) for planes. Our airlines do SLB for their planes which makes it viable for them to induct planes. Many people approaching us want to take the SLB route. We have approached Indian banks to start this facility," the HAL official said.

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