France's Airbus aims to help helicopter travel take off in India

India's Tata business group and France's Airbus have signed a deal to make civilian helicopters, hoping to boost an overlooked sector of the vast Indian air travel market. It's the latest in a line-up of promising aviation collaborations between the two countries.

The two groups inked the deal during French President Emmanuel Macron's recent trip to Delhi, with promises for a fully fledged assembly line in India by 2026.

The project comes as part of Delhi’s long-running Make In India campaign. The drive is one of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programmes to reduce dependence on imports by boosting domestic manufacturing, in turn creating 100 million jobs.

In a statement, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said: "A 'Made-in-India' civil helicopter will not only be a symbol of the confident new India but will also unlock the true potential of the helicopter market in the country."

Dated aircraft

The French company – which has already delivered its H125 helicopter to more than 2,500 operators across 133 countries – says the project will “catalyse” the Indian market, currently served by dated machines.

With only about 300 civilian helicopters in use, India last year reduced airfares by 25 percent in a bid to make rotorcraft travel more affordable.

The resulting defence supply chains could also contribute to security collaborations with other countries, he added.

Read more on RFI English

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