Boeing's Flightpath in India: Navigating Growth, Innovation, and 'Make in India' Commitments

Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India in conversation with SP's ShowNews about Boeing's commitment to India's 'Make in India' vision

Show: Wings India 2024 - Day 1
Salil Gupte,
President, Boeing India

SP’s ShowNews (SP’s): What is Boeing's strategy to capitalise the growth in the civil aviation market in India?

Salil Gupte (Salil): Over a span of more than 80 years, Boeing has emerged as a reliable partner in India's aerospace sector, playing a pivotal role in the country's burgeoning commercial aviation industry while also contributing to the modernisation and mission readiness of the nation's defence forces. Boeing's business strategy is in sync with India's vision of "Make in India" and "Skill India," as demonstrated by its investments over time across manufacturing, co-production, co-development, skill development, and innovation. These strategic investments play a pivotal role in strengthening Boeing's position as the largest foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) sourcing from India and establishing it as the largest site for Boeing operations outside of the United States, both in terms of manufacturing capacity, engineering, and workforce.

SP’s: What is the current outlook of India's aviation market, and what are the projected plane requirements across all commercial types based on your forecast?

Salil: As the world's third-largest civil aviation market, India's fleet is set to nearly quadruple in size by 2041 compared to 2019. The country is also projected to receive over 90 per cent of South Asia's airplane deliveries, requiring over 2,400 new aircraft, while its cargo market is set to expand significantly, with the fleet growing from 15 to 80 airplanes by 2042, driving a $135 billion demand for commercial services. Boeing's 2023 Pilot and Technician Outlook anticipates substantial demand in South Asia for 37,000 pilots and 38,000 maintenance technicians over the next two decades, primarily fuelled by India's burgeoning aviation sector.

SP’s: How are you contributing to the Government's 'Make-in-India' vision?

Salil: Boeing leads among foreign OEMs, annually sourcing over $1 billion from 300+ supplier partners in India. Notably, over 25 per cent of these are Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) integral to our global supply chain, exporting critical components worldwide. Our strong network of Indian suppliers, particularly in the aerospace sector, has made us a leader in exports and underscores our commitment to fostering growth and leadership in Indian aerospace and defence through partnerships, including with start-ups. Some highlights are:

  • Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL): manufactures complex floor beams for the 787-8, 9 and 10 Dreamliners. Boeing has awarded a follow-on contract to TASL, which has already delivered more than 33,000 beams to date.
  • Mahindra Aerostructures Pvt Ltd (MASPL): awarded a contract for manufacturing and supply of the Boeing 737 inlet outer barrel components and subassemblies at the state-of-the-art MASPL facility in Narsapura.
  • Wipro Infrastructure Engineering: manufactured and delivered strut assemblies for 737 MAX and Next-Generation 737 airplane programmes.
  • Bharat Forge: manufactures a range of titanium-forged parts such as flaptrack forgings for the Next-Generation 737 and forgings for the 737 MAX and the 777X.
  • Hyderabad-based Cyient: Supports critical design-engineering projects for Boeing airplanes, including 787 design and stress support.
  • Motherson Sumi Systems Limited (MSSL): awarded a contract to manufacture and supply aftermarket moulded polymer parts for commercial airplane interiors.
  • SASMOS HET Technologies: has signed a contract to manufacture panels, shelf assemblies and electrical wiring systems for Boeing 767 and 767-2C airplanes.

Our joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) in Hyderabad, is a state-of-the-art facility that showcases our commitment to Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat. TBAL manufactures aero-structures for Boeing's AH-64 Apache helicopter, including fuselages, secondary structures, and vertical spar boxes for customers worldwide, including the US Army and for the six on order with the Indian Army. Additionally, last year TBAL began shipping began shipping the vertical fin structures for the Boeing 737 airplane.

SP's: As India expects over 2,000 new aircraft, do you see the nation's MRO infrastructure keeping pace? What improvements do you think are necessary to bridge any existing gaps, and how would you evaluate India's current MRO sector?

Salil: To meet the burgeoning demand in the Indian civil aviation sector, India requires top-tier maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, as a significant portion of MRO expenditures currently flow overseas. The primary challenge lies in component and engine MRO, where the bulk of spending is concentrated. However, the arrival of new aircraft models that support local repair facilities is still a decade away. Therefore, it is imperative to strengthen India's MRO capabilities, particularly in components and engines, to support the burgeoning aviation sector, foster job creation, and advance technological expertise. India can leverage its skilled workforce, including experienced ex-servicemen, and robust industry capabilities to provide cost-effective solutions while meeting rigorous customer standards. This effort aligns with India's aspiration to establish itself as an MRO hub for the region, reinforcing the nation's aerospace and defence landscape.

SP's: Can you share details about Boeing's upcoming Aerospace Park near Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli? What key highlights can readers expect from this significant facility, which is set to become one of Boeing's largest globally?

Salil: Boeing is investing $200M in a new 43-acre state-of-the-art wholly-owned engineering and technology campus in Bengaluru. This will be Boeing's largest facility of its kind outside the US. Our 5,500+ diverse engineers and technologists, from our overall strength of over 6,000 employees, at the Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centre (BIETC) are instrumental in executing high-quality, advanced aerospace projects. They provide essential engineering expertise to Boeing's defence, space, and commercial sectors, encompassing everything from designing structures and systems to aiding in manufacturing processes, creating systems for aircraft testing, and delivering digital solutions to our airline customers. In addition to this vital work, BIETC plays a pivotal role in co-development initiatives for the Indian defence forces. Our teams engage in cuttingedge R&D across traditional and emerging domains, including next-generation airplane health management, environmentally sustainable coatings, advanced network solutions, and secure communications. These endeavours leverage state-of-the-art technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet-of-Things, Cloud, Model-Based Engineering, and Additive Manufacturing to enhance quality, safety, and productivity while advancing our co-development commitments.