“Over the next couple of years, we expect Boeing’s India presence to be the largest outside of the US. Boeing has been a proud partner with India for more than 75 years, and we’re just getting started. We want to contribute to the growth of India’s aerospace industry. That’s why we’re investing in commercial and defence across the development of aerospace technology, innovation, production capacity, supply chain, aerospace skilling centres, manufacturing and the modernisation of airport infrastructure and airspace,” Boeing India president Salil Gupte told TOI.
For instance, Boeing — in a JV with Tata Group — produces AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselages in Hyderabad for global customers, including the US Army. Composite floor beam for all Dreamliner variants are also made in India. After the current supply chain disruption caused globally by the coronavirus, Boeing has decided to add to its presence here. While it did not comment on whether the shift will be from China to India, it confirmed a larger role for India in next couple of years.
“We have been working towards skilling and upskilling Indian MSMEs as we’ve quadrupled our sourcing here from $250 million to $1 billion over the past few years. With thousands of MSMEs now getting into the aerospace sector, there is opportunity to do more,” Gupte added.
Boeing currently employs 3,500 people in India, and over 7,000 people work with its supply chain partners. The Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre in Bengaluru and Chennai undertakes advanced aerospace work and supports its global engineering growth. “Our wholly owned engineering and technology campus with future avionics manufacturing and assembly capability is coming up in Bengaluru with an initial investment of over $200 million. This will be the largest facility of its kind for Boeing outside of the US (43 acres),” Gupte added.
Boeing expects the grounded-since-last-March 737 Max to take to the skies again later this year, depending on regulatory clearances in the US and then in different countries where airlines have ordered this aircraft. It is aiming to get the clearances in the US in the third quarter and then in different countries by end of the year. In India, SpiceJet has 13 B737 Max parked at airports here and several more on order.