ibnlive » India

Jun 20, 2007 at 05:12am IST

It's all about money at B'lore air show

Bangalore: It's a once in a two-year occasion when magnificent flying machines grip Bangalore's eyeballs like nothing else.

The aviation industry from across the world has queued up for the Aero India airshow like never before.

So, why should 500 of the world's leading aerospace companies come calling? Well, it seems, it's all about the money.

"About 30 to 40 per cent of the order books of Boeing and Airbus are accounted for by Indian companies,” said HAL Chairman, Ashok Baveja.

The Airbus report puts the worth of India's aviation market at $105 billion over the next 20 years.

With such buying power, there's heavy duty wooing of India. There's a stark difference in tactics among the various camps to grab eyeballs. While Russians seem to be sticking to the time-tested way, their rivals have been more innovative.

Lockheed Martin seemed to have stolen a march over the others. They have ensured that everybody, including the competition, is wearing Lockheed Martin lineyards with their identity cards.

"Now that you have pointed it out, I'll switch to an HAL lineyard," said Baveja.

Behind the colour, there is some aggressive marketing. The Russians have fielded the MiG-35 and it’s the first time they are displaying this fighter abroad.

They are serving notice that they will defend what has been for long their turf. Their challengers, the Americans, are relying on their old war-horses.

The F-16 has been one of the most visible symbols of American military power. And when Ratan Tata flies on this aircraft, he will be helping the Americans wrest the midspace, which they hope will give them the edge in the dogfight for the Indian order for 126 fighter aircraft.