By Jayaprakash Rao
Singapore, Feb.18 (ANI): Marwan Lahoud, the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of the Airbus Group UK and chairman of the French aerospace industries association GIFAS, has said that he is very optimistic about the “Make in India” initiative announced by the Narendra Modi-led government, but has urged New Delhi to be less rigid in facilitating ease of doing business for foreign investment.
He was speaking shortly after Airbus and Boeing had announced billion-dollar deals at Asia’s largest air show in Singapore Wednesday, underscoring the region’s role as a driver of industry growth despite greater caution among plane buyers.
Europe’s Airbus said it had won a 1.85 billion dollar deal for the purchase of six A350-900s by Philippine Airlines (PAL), the flag carrier of one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.
With the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 40 percent of global air cargo, regional carriers have been badly hit by the global economic slowdown, worsening the impact of competition from Gulf carriers, and Laboud was quoted by a foreign news agency, as saying that it was his company’s desire to sell as many aircraft in Asia as possible.
He also said that Airbus is keen to have industrial facilities, research and engineering centers in Asia.
Lahoud said the Airbus Group wants to amplify what it has started already i.e. “selling, designing and manufacturing in Asia.”
In fiscal 2015-16, Airbus said it won 421 orders from 17 airlines and lessors in Asia, representing 39 percent of the company’s net order intake for the year.
In the Indian context, the Tata Group is in discussions to go for licensed production besides purchasing a few planes for their airliner business.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, Mr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin, has told ANI here that India is showing positive steps in negotiations for licensed production of F 16, though it is still at the discussion stage.
As for the supply of C-30 J helicopters, Shaw said that discussions are also progressing along expected lines. He also said that the training school for A 320 is taking great shape in a place located near Indian capital New Delhi.
Partnering for Apache helicopter missile systems manufacture is also in an advance stage of negotiation, Shaw said, adding that Lockheed Martin is also in talks for developing cyber security and aerospace technologies in India.
Shaw appreciated the “Make in India” drive of the Modi government, which is spearheading foreign investments in India with a great amount of clarity. (ANI)