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UK aerospace firms eye India

India is seen as an aviation hotspot by British aerospace companies keen to invest in projects worth millions of pounds in the country.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 14:38 IST

India is seen as an aviation hotspot by British aerospace companies keen to invest in projects worth millions of pounds in the country, including for machine parts and assemblies.

Opportunities for aviation companies - mainly based in Bristol and the west of England - were highlighted at a seminar hosted by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the West of England Aerospace Forum this week.

The event, which attracted more than 60 firms, was also the launch pad for a report by UKTI called 'Opportunities for UK Aerospace SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the Indian Aerospace Market'.

The report reveals that India will buy more than 500 jetliners by 2010. But since the infrastructure to support this growth and maintain the aircraft did not exist, there were several opportunities for the companies.

This included an opportunity for companies based in the west of England to supply low-batch precision machined parts and assemblies. Firms are being encouraged to form alliances combining Britain's inventiveness with India's knowledge pool and low-cost workforce.

Speakers at the event included Andrew Dinsley, head of the British trade office in Bangalore, Julian Stretch, UKTI India export promoter, and Mike Lee, aerospace trade adviser for UKTI.

Among the aerospace firms already doing business in India is Cheltenham-based Ultra Electronics. Its international sales manager Richard Parker told the seminar it exports control grips, selector switches and indicators for military planes and helicopters.

He said British firms first had to get used to the much slower pace of Indian business life. He said there was less urgency and emails often went unanswered for days. But these problems can be overcome and the rewards were worth it, he added.

Ultra works mainly with state-owned companies but other large organisations have entered the industry as the aviation market in India has boomed in recent years.