US-based General Dynamics (GD), which makes special special mission aircraft and defence goods, is set to enter India, and its business would cover Gulfstream business jets favoured by corporate leaders looking for private aircraft to manage urgent needs in a growing economy.
The company which has annual sales in excess of $24 bn has made a formal application to the Reserve Bank of India to open a liason office in Delhi, which will provide assistance and information to potential Indian customers as well as facilitate meetings between company representatives, the Indian government and potential partners.
GD's aerospace group designs, develops, manufactures and services a comprehensive fleet of Gulfstream business-jet aircraft.
"Corporations, private individuals and government users alike rely on these aircraft to fulfill a wide range of requirements," the company said in a statement.
"We are keen to identify opportunities where our expertise may be of value in meeting India’s objectives. Our office in India will provide local representation and pursue opportunities," said William O Schmeider, vice-president.
The company also provides integrated defence platforms solutions with a presence in American, European and Asian markets.
Major Indian companies currentlyown about 150 specialised business jets. Customers such as Reliance Industries, the UB Group and Raymonds own captive fleets.
Aviation industry officials said that the demand for Gulfstream aircraft would increase as many Indian corporates seek to have their own fleets to criss-cross the country.
In addition to Gulfstream jets, Indian corporate giants own planes made by Airbus, Boeing, Falcon, Beechcraft and helicopters made by Bell.
In addition to their own aircraft, some corporates have also pooled in together to purchase aircraft for usage by them. When not in use, the companies also lease out their aircraft and helicopters to others.
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