India’s aerospace industry is set to witness considerable growth on the back of Government of India’s Make in India campaign, thrust on indigenous manufacturing of defence equipments and expanding civil aviation industry. India’s aerospace sector caters to clients in 3 different industries viz. defence, space and civil aviation.

India’s growing civil aviation sector offers tremendous growth prospects for the aerospace industry. Presently, India has 464 airports and airstrips, of which 125 airports are owned by Airports Authority of India (AAI). By 2020, AAI aims to operationalise around 250 airports across the country. India, which was the 9th largest civil aviation market in 2016-17, is set to become 3rd largest by 2020. Passenger traffic handled by Indian airports is set to grow to 421 million by 2020 from 223.61 million in 2016.

Aerospace industry in India is largely dominated by Government of India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). HAL is engaged in design, manufacture and maintenance of aircrafts, helicopters, avionic items, engines, and other components for India’s defence sector. The company also supplies structures for aerospace launch vehicles and satellites to India’s premier space organization Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Another government-owned organization National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) conducts research and development in the civilian aerospace sector. NAL develops aerospace technologies, besides designing and building small and medium-size civil aircrafts.

Some of the private companies that operate in this sector are Aequs Aerospace, Mahindra Aerospace, Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), Honeywell International India, Bharat Electronics, Taneja Aerospace and Aviation, among others.

Progressive Policies

Government of India’s Make in India policy, liberalization of foreign direct investment norms in aviation and defence sectors, defence procurement policy, defence offset policy and policy for selecting strategic partners for defence manufacturing are expected to be significant growth drivers for this sector.

These policies have received favourable response from foreign and domestic companies in this sector. French defence manufacturing firm Dassault Aviation has entered into partnership with India’s Reliance Group for manufacturing military combat aircraft in India. Similarly, US-based aircraft maker Boeing has formed joint venture with India’s Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) to set up a centre of excellence for systems development and manufacturing in the aerospace sector.


Maintenance, Repaid and Overhaul (MRO) is an important segment in the aerospace industry. Currently, Indian airlines spend 13-15% of their total revenues on MRO, which is the second largest expense after fuel cost.

The size of the Indian MRO industry is pegged at USD 500 million currently and this is expected to grow to USD 1.5 billion by 2020. India’s civil airline companies and Indian Air Force are expected to expand fleet size to meet their growing requirements. In the next five years, Indian airline companies are expected to add 300 business jets, 300 small aircrafts and 250 helicopters in their existing fleet. This would increase demand for MRO services from these companies.

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