India PM Modi says won’t be long before Boeing makes aircraft in India

By Shivansh Tiwary

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India will not have to wait too long for a Boeing aircraft that is designed and manufactured in the subcontinent, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the inauguration of the planemaker’s engineering center in Bengaluru on Friday.

The Boeing India Engineering & Technology Center (BIETC) in the capital city of the southern Indian state of Karnataka is the company’s largest facility outside of the United States and will focus on research and development.

The company said it had invested $200 million in the campus, which is spread across 43 acres, but did not provide details on the number of people the facility will employ. Boeing currently employs more than 6,000 people in India across its various centers.

At the event, which was also attended by senior Boeing executives including Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Pope, Modi stressed the need to build an aircraft manufacturing ecosystem in India.

“Given that there is so much potential in India, we need to rapidly build an aircraft manufacturing ecosystem in the country,” Modi said.

Boeing has witnessed a surge in interest for its jets in India, currently the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, with travel demand outstripping the supply of planes.

On Thursday, the aircraft manufacturer received orders for 150 737 MAX narrowbody jets from Akasa Air, India’s youngest carrier.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters last year, India’s civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said it was time for Boeing and rival Airbus to consider setting up jetliner assembly in the country.

Boeing has an alliance with India’s Tata Group to produce AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselages and 737 aircraft vertical fin structures.

(Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)