Airbus Partners with TATA Group to set up India’s First Helicopter Final Assembly Line in Private Sector

Preet Palash

28 Jan 2024

In a major boost to ‘Make in India’, Airbus Helicopters has announced that it is partnering with the Tata Group to establish a Final Assembly Line (FAL) for helicopters in the country. The FAL will produce Airbus’ best-selling H125 helicopter from its civil range for India and export to some of the neighbouring countries.


The FAL will be the first instance of the private sector setting up a helicopter manufacturing facility in India, providing a major boost to the Government of India’s 'AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) programme. Under this partnership, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a subsidiary of Tata Group, will set up the facility along with Airbus Helicopters.


The announcement was made during the two-day visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India as Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.


The FAL in India will undertake the integration of the major component assemblies, avionics and mission systems, installation of electrical harnesses, hydraulic circuits, flight controls, dynamic components, fuel system and the engine. It will also do testing, qualification, and delivery of the H125 to customers in India and the region. The FAL will take 24 months to set up and deliveries of the first ‘Made in India’ H125s are expected to commence in 2026. The location of the FAL will be jointly decided by Airbus and the Tata Group.




“Helicopters are crucial for nation building. A ‘Made-in-India’ civil helicopter will not only be a symbol of the confident New India but will also unlock the true potential of the helicopter market in the country,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. “This helicopter final assembly line, which we will build together with our trusted partner Tata, is a reaffirmation of Airbus’ commitment to developing the full spectrum of the aerospace ecosystem in India. This will be the second final assembly line Airbus is building in India after the ‘Make in India’ C295 military aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat.” 


N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said, “The Tata Group is delighted to set up India’s first helicopter assembly facility in the private sector. This facility will have the final assembly line in partnership with Airbus for the world’s bestselling Airbus H125 single engine helicopter for the Indian as well as export markets.”


Undisputed in its class, the H125 produced in India will catalyze the use of helicopters in the country. This multi-mission workhorse will revolutionize passenger and goods transportation and will also be used for segments such as emergency medical services (HEMS), disaster management, law enforcement, tourism, and aerial work missions. Providing last mile connectivity to remote areas, the H125 will significantly contribute to the Government of India’s regional connectivity scheme – Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) that will further promote the tourism sector in the country.

The H125 is the world’s best-selling single-engine helicopter that outclasses other helicopters in its category. This high-performing versatile helicopter is a member of Airbus’ Ecureuil family, which has accumulated more than 38 million flight hours worldwide. It can operate in high-and-hot and extreme environments and can be easily reconfigured for various missions, including aerial work, firefighting, law enforcement, rescue, air ambulance, passenger transport, and many others.


The H125 is the only helicopter to have landed on Mount Everest, demonstrating its agility in operating in high-altitude, extreme environments.


The proposed helicopter manufacturing facility will be the second FAL to be established in India by Airbus, leveraging TASL’s capabilities in aerospace and defence. The two companies are building the C295 military transport aircraft FAL in Vadodara, Gujarat.


The latest announcement is part of Airbus’ efforts to develop a holistic aerospace ecosystem in India, where the company is expanding its industrial footprint with aircraft assembly, component manufacturing, engineering and digital design and development, MRO support, pilot and maintenance training as well as academic collaboration to foster human capital.




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SpiceJet Gets Fund Infusion

Preet Palash

27 Jan 2024

Cash-strapped SpiceJet has completed first tranche of capital infusion, the airline said on Friday.

The airline has allotted shares and warrants totaling INR 744 Crore on a preferential basis in the first tranche.


On January 25, 2024, the Company’s Board of Directors approved the allotment of 5.55 Crore equity shares on a preferential basis to 54 subscribers. Additionally, the Board approved the allotment of 9.33 Crore warrants, offering the option to apply for and be allotted an equivalent number of equity shares, on a preferential basis to Elara India Opportunities Fund Limited and Silver Stallion Limited.


Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet, said, “We are pleased with the completion of the first tranche of our preferential allotment, which demonstrates the confidence of investors in SpiceJet’s growth prospects and we remain committed to completing the further allotment process progressively. The fund infusion will open new avenues for SpiceJet, resulting in a more cash-efficient operation, expanded fleet and network.”


The airline has requested additional time from the authorities to complete the second round of infusion.


The extension is necessitated on account of limited banking days arising from long weekends during the intervening period, it added.

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What is the Industry doing about GPS Spoofing?

Abhishek Nayar

27 Jan 2024

Global aviation regulators, security specialists, and manufacturers recently convened in Cologne, Germany, to discuss the escalating issue of GPS spoofing near war zones. Despite the urgency expressed by airlines, the meeting failed to produce a quick technical fix. Instead, the focus shifted towards enhancing pilot training to mitigate the impact of GPS spoofing incidents.

The Growing Threat of GPS Spoofing

Airlines worldwide have been grappling with a series of incidents where GPS navigation systems were compromised, displaying false locations or incorrect time readings. While the aircraft's flight controls remained intact, the potential risks associated with such disruptions are substantial. GPS spoofing involves the transmission of false signals, often by military entities, to interfere with the functionality of an enemy plane or drone. Unfortunately, the collateral effects extend to nearby civilian airliners, raising concerns about the safety and security of global airspace.

Regional Escalation

Reports indicate that GPS jamming and spoofing incidents have intensified in Eastern Europe, the Black Sea, and the Middle East. Industry group OpsGroup highlights the growing sophistication of these attacks, posing a significant challenge to the aviation sector. As GPS becomes an integral part of aviation infrastructure, replacing traditional radio beams for navigation, finding effective solutions is paramount.

The Cologne Meeting and Proposed Strategies

Organized by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Cologne meeting sought to address the immediate concerns raised by airlines. However, the lack of consensus on a quick technical fix prompted a shift towards prioritizing pilot training as an interim solution. The meeting recognized the need for alternative technologies to counter worsening GPS challenges, emphasizing the importance of retaining some older technology alongside GPS advancements.

Pilot Training as an Interim Solution & Long-term Technological Solutions

Experts argue that investing in enhanced pilot training could provide a quick and pragmatic response to GPS spoofing threats. While technical solutions exist, their implementation is costly, complex, and may not guarantee foolproof protection against evolving spoofing techniques. With the approval and standardization of new technologies expected to take a considerable amount of time, pilot training emerges as a practical measure to navigate the current landscape of GPS vulnerabilities.

In addition to pilot training, discussions at the meeting also explored the development of a second layer of authentication to verify the authenticity of GPS signals. This technology, reportedly part of Europe's Galileo program, is not yet widely implemented. However, its potential to provide a long-term solution was acknowledged. Regulators, though cautious about altering the pace of certification for certain technologies, emphasized the importance of continued exploration and development of advanced authentication measures.

The Road Ahead

As GPS interference attacks become more sophisticated, the aviation sector faces an ongoing challenge in staying ahead of potential threats. The next crucial step involves the conference on navigation systems in Antalya, Turkey, organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in early February. This gathering aims to delve deeper into the issue and explore collaborative efforts to ensure the safety and integrity of global navigation systems.

Addressing the escalating threats of GPS spoofing in aviation requires a multi-faceted approach. While pilot training emerges as a practical interim solution, the sector must simultaneously explore and develop advanced technological measures. The upcoming conference in Antalya presents an opportunity for international collaboration to establish comprehensive strategies that safeguard aviation infrastructure in the face of evolving security challenges.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Akasa Orders 300 CFM engines

Preet Palash

26 Jan 2024

Akasa Air has ordered 300 CFM LEAP-1B engines to power its 150 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes ordered earlier this month.

The agreement also includes spare engines and a services contract, the airline said in a Friday statement.

“This significant, long-term agreement is testament to the confidence that CFM International has in Akasa Air. Continuing to partner with CFM as our engine maintenance provider not only reaffirms our focus on operational reliability but equally underscores Akasa Air’s relentless pursuit of world class safety” said Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO of Akasa Air, “With CFM as our long-term engine maintenance provider, we remain confident in our path to becoming one of the top 30 leading airlines in the world, by the turn of this decade”.

This new order grows CFM’s footprint in India, with more than 400 CFM-powered aircraft in service and 2,500 LEAP engines in the backlog. Both CFM’s parent companies GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines have also significantly invested in India to build state-of-the-art facilities dedicated to LEAP production and maintenance, while signing strategic partnerships with Indian aerospace companies as part of the “Make in India” policy.

 “Our customers, including Akasa, are seeing 15 to 20 percent better fuel efficiency with their LEAP-powered fleets and it has the highest reliability and daily utilization rates in this thrust class,” said Gaël Méheust, president & CEO of CFM International. “Today’s order will continue to bring these benefits to Akasa and support their continued growth, as well as play an important role in India’s economic development.”

The LEAP engine family has amassing more than 45 million engine flight hours and 18.7 million flight cycles. Since entering service in 2016, the LEAP engine has helped saved more than 30 million tons of CO2 compared to the same flights with previous generation engines, the airline added.

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Gol Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Amid Aviation Industry Turmoil

Abhishek Nayar

27 Jan 2024

In a significant development within the aviation sector, Brazilian airline Gol has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. The move comes as a response to the severe economic challenges the carrier has faced, primarily driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and delays in Boeing deliveries.

Financial Overview & Industry Context

As of the end of the third quarter, Gol reported a substantial gross debt of approximately 20 billion reais ($4.07 billion). To navigate through the financial turbulence, the airline has secured a lifeline in the form of $950 million in financing from bondholders associated with its holding company, Abra Group.

Gol's decision to seek Chapter 11 protection aligns with a broader trend in the Latin American aviation industry, where several carriers have resorted to similar measures to weather the unprecedented challenges posed by the ongoing global health crisis. This includes the likes of sister company Avianca, Mexico's Aeromexico, and Chile-based LATAM Airlines.

CEO's Perspective & Rationale Behind the Move

CEO Celso Ferrer emphasized that the Chapter 11 filing is a strategic step towards reshaping Gol's capital structure to effectively confront the current and anticipated challenges in the aviation sector. Ferrer clarified that the primary objective is to deleverage the company, ensuring a sustainable financial future.

The decision to file for Chapter 11 protection was not entirely unexpected. Industry analysts, including those from Citi, had noted the challenges Gol faced in reaching a consensus with aircraft lessors and other creditors. The move is perceived as a proactive measure to address the financial strain and uncertainties that have arisen due to the pandemic.

Operational Continuity, Outlook & Challenges

Contrary to speculations, Gol has affirmed that there are no plans to reduce its operations. The airline aims to use the Chapter 11 process to streamline its financial obligations and emerge as a more robust player in the post-pandemic aviation landscape.

While Gol's filing for Chapter 11 provides a roadmap for financial recovery, the airline will need to navigate through a complex restructuring process. The success of this endeavor hinges on effective negotiations with creditors and a comprehensive strategy to adapt to the evolving demands of the aviation market.


Gol's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing underscores the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global aviation industry. As the company takes this bold step to secure its financial future, the broader implications highlight the need for resilience and adaptability within the sector. The aviation landscape continues to evolve, and Gol's strategic moves will be closely watched as it charts a course through these turbulent times.

With Inputs from Reuters