Taking the fleet to Aero India

Miranda Kennedy Feb 7, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Today is the first day of the air show Aero India. More than 500 aerospace companies are vying for deals in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market. Over 50 U.S. defense and aircraft firms are displaying their wares, but as Miranda Kennedy reports from New Delhi, they face stiff competition.


MIRANDA KENNEDY: Boeing and Lockheed are among the U.S. firms who are hoping to benefit from the civil nuclear agreement which Congress passed late last year.

The agreement granted India status as a nuclear power. Now the U.S. wants something in return: access to India’s $30 billion defense market.

But U.S. companies have to reckon with India’s traditional suppliers, France and Russia. Former defense secretary William Cohen is leading the mission to India.

WILLIAM COHEN: Russia has a long history with this country, but I don’t think the Russians can come in and capitalize on all the work that the United States has done in terms of getting this agreement passed. All the hard work that’s involved in that, the United States has been carrying that load.

U.S. aerospace companies are looking to India’s fast-growing commercial market, too.

Industry estimates suggest air traffic could double by 2010 to 50 million passenger journeys a year. Boeing says India will need more than 800 new planes by then.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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