Rémi Maillard is the President of Airbus India and Managing Director of South Asia region. Rémi, 40, joined Airbus in 2008 and has held several leadership roles. He started his career at Airbus Helicopters, leading a transformation programme for the company’s Research and Development activities. Prior to joining Airbus, Rémi worked as an Associate Director with a consulting firm specialising in industrial strategy. Rémi holds degrees in Engineering and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris.
In an interview to Raksha Anirveda, Airbus India President Remi Maillard speaking expressively detailed out on Airbus’ Make in India programme besides the company’s planning on Aero India participation. Excerpts:
How is Airbus contributing to the ‘Make in India’ programme?
Airbus takes immense pride in being a partner to India’s growing aerospace industry. ‘Make in India’ is in the front and centre of our strategy. Today, every Airbus aircraft that is built incorporates parts or technologies that are developed in India. Airbus’ local footprint in sourcing, engineering, innovation, maintenance and training services is a testament to our commitment to developing the local ecosystem. We have a strong local industrial collaboration and we are playing an important role in stimulating growth for our partners and increasing their competitiveness in the global value chain of Airbus.
Airbus is actively supporting the modernisation of India’s armed forces as well as the nation’s industrial development plans through a number of programmes. The C295 has been offered to replace the Indian Air Force’s ageing Avro fleet. Airbus Defence and Space and Tata will jointly execute the project as a ‘Make in India’ initiative. Airbus has also partnered with Mahindra Defence to produce the AS565MBe Panther under the Strategic Partnership (SP) policy to modernise the Indian Navy’s fleet. The execution of these projects will create thousands of jobs in India and catalyse the local supplier base, creating new capabilities to support the indigenous production of military equipment.
What is Airbus showcasing at Aero India?
The 13th edition of Aero India is a much awaited event since the beginning. It is a unique platform for the aviation industry to bolster business. The exhibition will showcase the latest advancements and achievements in the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing. Airbus is an active participant in ‘Make in India’ efforts and will showcase some of the latest products and innovations from its global portfolio at Aero India 2021. At the Airbus booth, there will be scale models of the highly versatile C295 – a medium military transport aircraft, the H225M – military version of Airbus’ H225 helicopter and the AS565MBe Panther – an all-weather, multi-role medium aircraft along with a digital display of the multi-role tanker transport aircraft, the A330 MRTT.
How do you think Covid-19 has impacted commercial aviation in India?
Covid is definitely the gravest crisis our industry has ever faced. There is not one single player in the market that is immune to the crisis, be it an airline, a lessor, an MRO, a training centre, an airport, an equipment supplier or an aircraft manufacturer. It is a long-term crisis. Given how deep the crisis is, recovery in aviation will be long and a full comeback will take years specifically when it comes to international flights.
The future of the Indian aviation industry is very promising because of the strong local fundamentals. That is why, in parallel to the efforts of catalysing a safe traffic recovery, there is a need to work on strengthening the foundations for India to become a world leader in the civil aviation industry. This is only possible by further developing the domestic market, turning India into an international hub, growing the MRO and training eco-systems as well as stimulating the Helicopter business. The Regional Connectivity Scheme will indeed play a major role in the growth of the domestic market.
Also, the coming years will bring in innovation to match anything in the history of aviation with the development of zero-emission aircraft and the decarbonisation of the entire aviation sector. Airbus recently announced three concepts for the world’s first carbon-free commercial aircraft that could enter service by 2035.
What makes India unique?
The Airbus story in India is that of a long-standing relationship of collaboration and symbiotic growth. India’s strength lies in its talent, its ability to scale volume and the presence of perhaps the largest engineers and Information Technology (IT) partner ecosystems in the world. For Airbus, India is not just a large, fast-growing market for aerospace products and services. It is a base, a strategic resource hub for emerging technologies, world-class talent and research and development that powers the aerospace sector.
The engineering centre in India underscores Airbus’ efforts to maximise value from its global footprint, including from India where a remarkable IT and engineering talent pool is complementing Airbus’ European partner ecosystems. Over the years, the team has developed the competency to perform architectural, system installation and sizing trade studies on new and incremental Airbus commercial and helicopter programmes. The R&D team plays a key role in demonstrating emerging technology readiness levels and developing innovative solutions for design and development of current and future aircraft and rotorcrafts.
Airbus Bizlab, which is a global aerospace accelerator is bringing together start-ups and Airbus “intrapreneurs” to transform innovative ideas into valuable businesses more quickly. So far, 11 successful partnerships have been signed between start-ups and Airbus team and subsidiaries.
What kind of technical skills does Airbus has?
The India Engineering Centre has strong capabilities in structural analysis, loads, aerodynamics, avionics software design and testing, system design and testing, simulations, Machine-learning, Artificial intelligence, digital mock-up, system installation and data analytics. These capabilities are critical factors in the design and production of high-performance aircraft.
In addition, Airbus Information Management Centre inaugurated in September 2019 is focused on ERP operations, engineering and product life-cycle management as well as digital capabilities that include big data, advanced analytics, Internet of Things, Cloud and DevOps, API development as well as cyber security.