RK Tyagi, alumni of IIT Roorkee, took over as Chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in March 2012. He spoke to HT on a range of issues concerning the company's growth, challenges and future targets. Excerpts:
What are your important milestones on operational front in the financial year 2012-13? What areas you and your team focussed on?
It has been an excellent year on the operation front for HAL. We handed over the first weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) "Rudra" to Indian Army, exported two Cheetah helicopters to Republic of Suriname and one Dornier Do-228 light transport aircraft to Seychelles. The first flight of DARIN-III upgraded Jaguar and LCA Naval Prototype took off during the year. The last of the limited series production LCA took to skies in March 2013.
How do you see HAL's growth and future?
In the next five years, HAL will commence production of the current indigenous design and development projects that include Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and HTT-40 which is a basic trainer. We have plans to manufacture 10-12 ton category helicopter for Navy in the next five years.
What are your major challenges? The major challenge for us is to overcome the dependence on raw material and our access to critical technologies. Supply chain is another critical area. Supplies from abroad coupled with irritants like unjustified price escalations, export restrictions, and obsolescence affect us.
How is HAL trying to use the potential in the civil aviation sector? Are you in a position to open the HAL Airport at Bangalore?
HAL has already manufactured 116 Dornier DO-228 and 89 Avro HS 748 aircraft at its facility at the Transport Aircraft Division (TAD) at Kanpur. Our efforts will continue in civilian aircraft market through opportunities in National Civil Aircraft Development Programme for which Planning Commission has designated HAL as the Lead Development Agency. HAL Bangalore Airport was an International Airport till May 2008 and had all the necessary infrastructure in place for a safe and sound operations. Given an opportunity, we are prepared to reopen the airport.
Are you satisfied over the financial achievements of the company for the 2012-13?
I am content, but would like to see better results in the coming years although HAL achieved a new financial high with a turnover of Rs 14,316 crores in the financial year 2012-13(provisional figures). The profit before tax for the FY 2012-13 stood at Rs. 3,471 crores. We declared an interim dividend to the tune of Rs. 823 crores, 683% of equity base of Rs 120.50 crores for the financial year.