Thursday, November 02, 2006

Aviation giant projects a surge in helicopter market

New Delhi: Bidding for Indian army's $ 700- million deal for sale of 197 light helicopters, American aviation giant Bell Helicopters is exploring setting up of the first-ever helicopter pilot training institute and chopper servicing and maintenance facility here.
Bell's 407 helicopter is in contention with Eurocopter for the deal, under which 60 choppers would be bought in fly away conditions and the rest 137 manufactured under technology transfer at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in India.
Projecting a surge in demand for helicopters in India, Redenbaugh said outside military, India had yet no facility to train helicopter pilots. Estimates are that there are at present only 150 helicopters operating in commercial sector in India, which would rise almost ten fold in next few years.
"We are exploring possibilities of setting up a helicopter pilot training institute here. We are also prepared to look at setting up a helicopter maintenance and spares service," said Redenbaugh whose company, though a latecomer to the Indian market, has a fifty per cent share in the commercial sales here.
03/11/06 PTI/The HIndu