Stage Set for Tata-Airbus to Manufacture Aircraft
Gujarat Govt Offers Land at Dholera Sir Where an International Airport Is Coming Up; Consortium to Manufacture C-295 Military Transport Aircraft at the Facility.
The Tata-Airbus consortium, which has won the Indian government order to manufacture C-295 military transport aircraft, is in final consultations with the state government to set up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat. Tata is zeroing in on a suitable location for the plant. The Gujarat government has offered land in Dholera Special Investment Region to the Tata group to set up the plant. According to official sources, Tata is also eyeing other locations in Gujarat.
The company is looking for land near some developed airport facilities like Ahmedabad, Surat or Rajkot. However, the Gujarat government which is developing an international airport at Dholera has offered land there. The greenfield airport is expected to be commissioned by June 2024. It is being developed on a 1,427-hectare land in Navagam and 75-hectare government land has already been allocated for commercial development.
A senior Industries department official said, “It is certain that the company would set up a manufacturing facility in Gujarat. Talks about the location are in progress and a final decision will be taken soon.”
The announcement of the project might come up just before the announcement of Assembly elections, he added. Dholera is an important node in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and earlier there were plans to set up aircraft MRO facilities there.
As per industry sources, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd in partnership with Airbus has signed a $2.8 billion (Rs 22,000 crore) contract with the Ministry of Defence to manufacture C-295 military aircraft locally. The company, after scouting locations all over India, has zeroed in on Gujarat for the manufacturing plant.
The Dholera airport will have two runways of 4,000 metres and 2,910 metres lengths. These would be essential for a flight-testing facility for the Airbus-Tata complex, said the official. With this project, an Indian private company will be roped in for the first time in India’s defence sector, particularly the aircraft manufacturing, which is dominated by the public sector.
Tata-Airbus has already won the contract to deliver 56 c-295 transport aircraft. The growing needs of the Indian Airforce, Navy and Military may lead to further orders. Later, the company is likely to contemplate catering to the export market as well.
The state industries minister had announced about the project in his budget speech in the Assembly session in March. Though at that time he did not mention the company name, he had said that a plant to manufacture aircraft will come up soon.