Projecting that the number of civil helicopters in India will increase by nearly three-fold to 800 in next 10-20 years, an aviation think-tank today said the NDA government's ambitious "Make in India" project coupled with strategic initiatives could make this growth happen.
According to Indian arm of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), almost half of this projected requirement would be needed for providing regional connectivity, which is one of the focus areas of the proposed civil aviation policy.
"At present, there are about 276 helicopters registered with the DGCA. We expect this fleet size to go up to 800 in the next 10-20 years period," CAPA India head Kapil Kaul said at an international conference on general aviation organised by the state-owned chopper operator Pawan Hans here today.
Kaul said that the forecast was "conservative" considering both challenges and cost-structure of the industry, the prospects (of growth) are much larger."
"The growth would come on two counts -- fleet expansion and replacement of the ageing machines," he said. "Helicopters would play critical role in many areas including public transportation going forward," he added.
Pointing that the chopper industry witnessed a spurt in growth during the 2004-2009 period, Kaul said, enabling policy would have to put in place to realise such a huge growth potential and also making India an ideal base for the manufacturing of such machines.
The ambitious "Make in India" project could make this growth happen. The Government and industry needs to join hands to make the segment viable, he added.