Wings India 2024: Day 1 Musings

Wings India 2024, Asia’s largest civil aviation exhibition, took off at the Begumpet airport in Hyderabad on Thursday

By Asad Mirza

Wings India

Hyderabad. The Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurated Wings India 2024, Asia’s largest civil aviation exhibition, being organised at Begumpet airport in Hyderabad on January 18. Minister of State for Civil Aviation General VK Singh and Telangana Minister for Roads, Buildings and Cinematography Komatireddy Venkat Reddy were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Scindia stated the government’s resolve to support the multi-dimensional activities of the aviation sector for tapping the huge potential of the sector thus the growth of the country.

He said the Civil Aviation sector is the best sector to connect people to people, transform lives, and bring social and economic progress. He said the civil aviation sector can make the world truly one realising the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam spirit, as expressed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the relentless progress and innovation that took place in the aviation sector across the globe trickled down to other sectors, too. Stating that one job created in the sector creates six additional jobs, besides adding to the new infrastructure and new airports, across the country.

Mr Scindia said that India has been a shining star under the leadership of Narendra Modi in global civil aviation post-COVID season, which has so far witnessed an increase of 467 thousand passengers per day. He also said domestic traffic has grown by 57 percent and become the fifth-largest civil aviation market in the world.

He added that passenger traffic would grow to 300 million (3 crore) by 2030. The minister further said India has huge potential to prepare and create capacities and simplifying procedures. He said the country’s civil aviation sector could support us making India a  20 trillion economy.

Mr Scindia said by 2030, the current 149 airports will be increased to 200 airports with additional water ports. He further said two new greenfield airports will come up soon. 517 new lines have been operationalised. Stating about the future plans, he said every district would soon have an airport or airstrip in the country.

Stating that 15 percent of pilots are women in the country, which is the highest in the world, the minister said a thousand Drone Didi will be trained in the next few months, to help create civil aviation infrastructure in rural areas.

Stating that the Indian aviation sector witnessed the birth of airlines and multi-folded growth, he said for the first time an Indian airline placed a purchase order of over a hundred aircraft.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen V K Singh said the growth of civil aviation is contributing to global GDP besides India’s. Stating that Drones will enter the sector in the coming days, he stressed the need for hassle-free comprehensive growth-oriented actions to be taken and for stakeholders to share innovations in aviation technology in the sector.

Telangana’s Road Transport Minister K Venkatreddy said Telangana and Hyderabad have a vibrant ecosystem for the development of the Civil aviation sector. He asked the central government to approve water aerodromes, also.

He explained how the state government operates air ambulances and heli-tourism from Hyderabad to several destinations. He asked the central government for permission to start direct flights from the USA to Hyderabad. Stating that the aerospace sector and defence aerospace sectors are the top sectors for the state government, he said the government has provided the most-friendly ecosystem for them to grow.

Earlier, FICCI chairman Dr Anish Shah said India is the leading growth engine for global civil aviation development during the coming years. He said transformational development is taking place in the country. He said India has taken the lead in technological advances and innovation.

Mr Scindia also released a Knowledge paper on the occasion, Udan 5.3 the next bidding round, on the occasion. He also announced that Airbus-Air India have reached an agreement to set up an aircraft training centre at Gurugram, Haryana. It would train train 5000 people in the next ten years.

He also digitally launched the GMR Aero School of Aviation. This edition of Wings India is showcasing an array of new-generation aircraft displays, allied aviation services, auxiliary unit industries, and advancements in the tourism sector.

For the first time after years the old Begumpet airport of Hyderabad saw such a flurry of activities. The first day of the show hosted business professionals and aviation enthusiasts from all corners of the country. Following the official inauguration, the event unfolded, complemented by captivating aerial displays on the airport runway.

Aerobatics show

The Sarang helicopter team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) showcased their precision manoeuvres and captivated the audience. Additionally, an unprecedented performance followed as the Mark Jefferies aerobatic team from the UK, featuring four airplanes, took centre stage with breath-taking displays with their Extra Flugzeugbau EA300 two-seat aerobatic monoplanes.

Before the conclusion of the first day, spectators were also treated to a remarkable air show executed by the crew of Air India Express’ Boeing 737-8 aircraft. The low fly-bys of the aircraft added an extra layer of excitement, capturing the attention and admiration of the crowd.

Deals Galore

The inaugural day saw several deals and announcements for the aviation industry. India’s youngest low-cost airline, Akasa Air, formally placed an additional order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Akasa Air became the first Indian airline to order over 200 aircraft within 17 months of start of operations. The deal includes B737 Max 8-200 and Max 10.

GMR Aero Technic, the MRO division of GMR Air Cargo and Aerospace Engineering Ltd (GACAEL), launched GMR Aviation School in collaboration with Airbus, which will offer integrated 4-year licenced aircraft maintenance engineering programmes approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This will deal with shortage of skilled engineers in the industry.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish an industry consortium within the aviation ecosystem and use Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain and other technologies to improve operational efficiency and elevate customer experience.

A total of 25 aircraft were on display on Day One of Wings India 2024, also featuring India’s first-ever Airbus A350 with latest livery and Boeing’s 777-9, the newest member of Boeing’s wide body aircraft family, also its largest and most fuel-efficient aircraft.

The four-day exhibition displays demonstration flights, static displays, media conferences, business meetings and more.

Later in day, at another event Mr Scindia presented the ‘Wings India -2024 Awards’ to Bangalore and Delhi Airports, jointly. Both these airports were judged as best airports in the country.

Vistara Airlines bagged the Best Airline of the Year award. The Air India was recognised for its International Connectivity prowess, while Alliance Air got recognition for the Regional Connectivity player. Air India Express was declared a Sustainability Champion. GMR Group was honoured as the Best Aviation Service Provider while Skyways Air Services got accolades for its cargo services. In addition, Indian Oil Skytanking Pvt. Ltd was judged the best fuel services provider, and GMR got praise for its Aero Academy. Besides these, several other organisations were recognised by the Wings India for their excellence in different categories of civil aviation.

The four-day Wings India 2024 will bring together various stakeholders and participants from all over the world from the aviation industry to promote collaboration, showcase innovations, and explore business opportunities.

The deliberations at the ministerial level and CEOs conference besides round tables and panel discussions will help chart out actions that align with national aspirations, fostering connectivity, growth, and innovation in the aviation sector till the year 2047.

The best of the aviation industry is on display including innovative aviation technology and aircraft machinery at the event. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. will be showcasing its indigenous civil platforms like the Hindustan-228 aircraft and the upgraded civil helicopter Dhruv in the exhibition.

Air India will unveil its Airbus A350, the first aircraft of its kind in the country while Boeing 777-9 will be on display for the first time in the country. Besides mesmerizing aerobatic display by the Sarang team of the Indian Air Force, over 25 aircraft of different sizes will be on display for the spectacular view at the venue.

About 1500 delegates from over 100 countries and about five thousand business representatives are expected to participate. Over one-lakh visitors are likely to take part in the event. About 500 Business-to-Business meetings are also scheduled to be held during the event. Besides, 130 exhibitors and 15 Hospitality Chalets from across the globe are also taking part.