After ruling the tractor and the fourwheeler market in India, Mahindra is now ready to take the aerospace by storm with its whole gamut of offerings starting from parts manufacturing to MRO services to aircraft making
No one saw it coming. Mahindra’s rise in the Indian automobile market was unexpected and quite. It was inconceivable that a tractor and farm equipment maker could replace Indian auto heavyweight and long-time market leader Tata Motors. But it did, and how. Mahindra’s Scorpio, one of the most successful sports utility vehicle (SUV) brands in the country, and its several other variants ruled the Indian roads for the longest time, and are still in great demand.
Now the company is all set to do a ‘Scorpio’ in the Indian sky. If all goes well, Mahindra will launch its Airvan-10, a ten-seater turboprop plane, all over the world including India, by the second half of this year. This utility aircraft, designed, developed and assembled fully in-house, is just awaiting certification from the civil aviation regulator. Currently manufactured in the company’s Australian unit, it has almost finished its approval process by the Australian authority, and is expected to receive its US licence by June. That should expedite the process in India as quality standards for aviation sector are universal.
Airvan-10, however, is just one of the aces up Mahindra’s sleeve. The big game is a true integrated play. The group has built an entire value chain in the aerospace industry, including the original equipment manufacturing (OEM) business for global aviation majors, MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) for the whole aviation industry, and simulator training for pilots among others.
At a time when India’s general aviation is experiencing exploding growth, especially with the government’s regional connectivity plans, Mahindra’s aircraft launch has been very well timed. The country would potentially need at least 500 small planes to successfully implement the Regional Air Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which is aimed at serving un-served and under-served areas in the country. Under the scheme, planes will serve a network of at least 200 existing and new regional airports in small cities and remote regions across the country. Small 8 to 20-seater aircraft will be ideal for these routes, which are unlikely to witness heavy traffic.
Already assembling 5-, 8- and 10-seater planes at its Australian facility, Mahindra plans to make an 18-seater plane going forward. All these models are equipped to land on small runways, water and snow.
Mahindra’s ambitions are commendable, but the fact is, it is a high-risk industry. Growth in general aviation market depends on the overall economy and regulatory changes, and both can be erratic. So the question is, can Mahindra replicate its auto success in this big investment, zero error and low-volume aerospace industry?
Covering All Bases
Mahindra’s aerospace business comprises all essential blocks in the entire aerospace value chain. Starting from parts and components making, semi and complete assembly for the general aviation industry, to military helicopters to radars and surveillance platforms, the group’s aerospace and defence businesses have built complete capabilities in-house since the government of India opened up the industry for private sector in 2010. Read More…