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By: 
Ms. Neelu Khatri, U.S.- India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) Co-Chair (Industry) & President, Honeywell Aerospace - India

The strong growth of the Indian middle class, with a median age of 27 years, denote increased availability of income for more discretionary spending such as air travel. The Government of India aims to take flying to the masses and has shown its commitment to make it more affordable and convenient. The Government has announced plans to invest upwards of $120 billion to expand the civil aviation sector with modernization projects over the next ten years. By any standards – this is a growth opportunity for U.S. companies looking to work in India.

The Indian civil aviation sector is poised for fast and sustainable growth with the development of 100 smart cities, new economic corridors, and more than 50 new airports and expansion of existing airports. Further, there are several lucrative privileges available under India’s investment promotion efforts. With FDI in air transport touching $570 million during the last 15 years, India continues to be the favorite destination for foreign investors in the civil aviation sector.

This sector expansion and investment is not only an opportunity for U.S. companies, but also a window for Indian Aviation Authorities and Airlines to absorb best practices from global counterparts to help growth in the sector to leapfrog.

In response to the growth of India’s aviation sector, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is hosting the “Aviation Safety, Security and Airport Infrastructure Reverse Trade Mission” (RTM). The visit will bring Indian authorities and U.S. companies together on one platform to exchange ideas and explore business partnerships.

The RTM will enable Indian delegates to visit the U.S. to observe the design, manufacture, and demonstration of products and services that can help the Indian civil aviation sector achieve its development goals. This will also help close current and near-term business opportunities, delivering immediate results and success for both U.S. companies and India’s civil aviation sector.

Representatives of member companies at the ACP Workshop along with Ms. Neelu Khatri, ACP Co-chair (Industry) & President, Honeywell Aerospace – India, Mr. RN Choubey, Secretary- Ministry of Civil Aviation, and Mr. Thomas M. Miller, ACP Co-chair (Government) & FAA Senior Representative, South Asia

To set the stage for the visit, the U.S. – India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) recently held an “Innovation in Aviation” Workshop on August 31.  Mr. R. N. Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation led a high-level delegation from across key government departments.  Member companies presented innovative proposals and showcased their efforts for Make In India and skills development in Indian Aviation/Aerospace.

Scheduled for September 11 - 14, USTDA’s reverse trade mission has a strong lineup of meetings and site visits where delegates will see cutting-edge U.S. products and services.  Participants will meet with ACP member company leadership and visit ACP member facilities, such as UTC, Boeing, GAMA, and Honeywell.  The Washington Reagan National Airport visit will showcase an example of a small airport handling a large quantum of flights and passengers in a complex airspace. The visit will also expose delegates to cargo traffic using niche technologies and airport management expertise.  Mr. Thomas M. Miller, ACP Co-chair and FAA official from India, will accompany the Indian delegation.

I wish the attendees great luck and hope they make the most of this opportunity! Happy landings!