Airbus shares a long-standing relationship of collaboration and symbiotic growth with India. For decades, technology and know-how from the company have catalysed the growth of India’s civil aviation sector and supported the modernisation of its armed forces.
“For Airbus, India is not just a large, fast-growing market for aerospace products and services. It is a base, a strategic resource hub for emerging technologies, world-class talent and research and development that will power not just aerospace and future aerial mobility but also Industry 4.0 in the years to come.”
Anand Stanley, President & Managing Director, Airbus India & South Asia
“Make in India” is at the front and centre of Airbus’ business strategy in the country, and embedding local businesses in the company’s global supply chain is one of its approach pillars.
Presently, Airbus’ annual procurement from the country surpasses US$550 million from more than 45 Indian suppliers that provide engineering and IT services, aerostructures, materials and cabins for several of Airbus’ leading aircraft. The suppliers – both publicly and privately owned – employ over 6,500 people, including 1,500 engineers working on the company’s projects.
Collaborating with suppliers, Airbus conducts training to keep the workforce engaged in its projects. Intensive training and mentoring ensure workers’ skills are up to date. The supply base in India is highly appreciative of how Airbus cooperates with the companies, helping them grow and raise their position in the value chain.
Building local engineering and innovation for global growth
Operational since 2007, the Airbus Engineering Centre in Bengaluru has some 500 engineers working across both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft programmes for Airbus (the A320, A330, A350 XWB and A380 jetliners, and helicopters). It has matured with strong capabilities in structural analysis, loads, aerodynamics, avionics software design and testing, system simulation, digital mock-up and system installation.
Additionally, Airbus has two dedicated design centres: one with AxisCades for fuselage and another with Quest for wings and pylon – both supporting over 1,000 engineering jobs.
Customer services in South Asia
Airbus has set up a dedicated customer services organisation for the South Asia region, covering India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. Operational since September 2018 and based in New Delhi, India, the team of over 70 members combines customer support, field service, program support, tailored support programme (TSP), quality management, maintenance and flight training, as well as services and business development. The team also includes Airbus’ fully owned subsidiaries – Satair for spare parts distribution and Navblue for flight operations services. Other functions, such as flight operations support, engineering and maintenance support and technical data support, are under consideration to be integrated as well.
Airbus India training centre
Airbus inaugurated Asia’s first fully-owned pilots and maintenance engineers training centre for commercial aircraft in the National Capital Region (NCR) in Delhi. It supports the country’s need for new pilots to operate existing and next-generation Airbus jetliners. The centre accelerates the pace of training to help match the A320 deliveries to India. Airbus’ specialised instructors deliver training at the centre, which will have the capacity to train over 8,000 pilots and 2,000 maintenance engineers over the next 10 years.
Airbus BizLab India
In 2015, Airbus established a Bizlab in Bengaluru, its third after Toulouse and Hamburg, as a part of its goal to establish a global network of aerospace business accelerators. BizLab is a component of the company’s innovation strategy to bring together start-ups and Airbus intrapreneurs to work and speed up the transformation of their original ideas into valuable businesses. As of early 2019, Airbus Bizlab India already had accelerated 20 start-ups, out of which five are success stories, with 12 ongoing “proof of concepts.”
Innovations and R&T activities with Indian partners
Airbus has a network of research partnerships in India. It carries out research and technology (R&T) in advanced fields such as big data analytics, high performance and distributed computing, computer vision and signal processing.
The office of the Airbus Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in India has teams of scientists and engineers working in various technology domains – ranging from emerging technologies (such as blockchain, digital manufacturing, autonomous flight, hyperspectral sensing) to scouting of external players, prototyping and maturing these technologies for use in future aircraft. The team is devising online platforms and cloud-based solutions to managing knowledge within the company.
Airbus CTO also collaborates with leading local universities and institutions. Since 2013, it has successfully conducted research projects with various Indian institutes of technology (IITs) in areas related to computing, simulation, navigation and homeland security. In 2017, Airbus inaugurated “Protospace” in Bengaluru to provide a laboratory in India for rapid prototyping and concept technology realisation.
Airbus believes that contributing to the well-being of the communities in which it works is an ethical imperative. In India, the company is working with local communities to create shared values in areas such as environment protection, education and healthcare.
India Bio-Diversity programme
Under the aegis of Airbus Foundation, Airbus works in partnership with the United Nations Development Programmes, Global Environment Facility – Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP), Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Centre for Environmental Education, and the Centre for Tribal and Rural Development Trust for Paniyan, Kurumban and Kattunayakans communities in Tamil Nadu. The project started as an eight-year initiative (from 2010 to 2017) and has been extended to another three years (from 2018 to 2020). More than 50 biogas plants already have been installed in these communities that have helped save significant quantities of wood and reduce CO2 emissions.
Community outreach programme
Airbus supports corporate social responsibility activities that have a positive effect on the lives of local communities. Airbus supports:
Swanthana provides day-to-day necessities to support children with special needs.
SGBS Unnati Foundation
The Unnati Foundation enables underprivileged youth to obtain employment. In this partnership, Airbus sponsors vocational training of youth from less fortunate backgrounds, and also mentors them on life skills, values and etiquette.
The Smile Foundation works in the areas of education, healthcare, youth employability and women empowerment across several states of India. The NGO-initiated “Smile on Wheels” is a national-level mobile hospital programme for underprivileged children and women. The programme systematically takes well-equipped medical vans along with specialised doctors, nurses, medical staff and medicines to villages and slums. Airbus in India has joined Smile Foundation to provide health care in rural and slum areas of Delhi and the National Capital Region.
The Christel House Learning Centre is a place for disadvantaged children to grow, achieve and realise their dreams. The mission of the Christel House is to help orphaned, abandoned and underprivileged children break the cycle of poverty and make them self-sufficient and contributing members of society. The support includes scholarship for university education, development of job search skills for those entering the workforce and networking opportunities for graduates looking to improve employment opportunities.
Sightsavers India’s philosophy is that no person should go blind for avoidable causes. They are providing specialist treatment and eye care facilities for the people in need. With the support of Airbus in India, 60 camps are to be organised across Delhi/NCR to reach some 6,000 people, screening for eye problems like refractive error and cataracts. Patients diagnosed with refractive error will be prescribed glasses – which will be made available to them. Those identified with cataracts will be referred to the base hospital or government hospitals for treatment.
Aerospace MBA programme
Airbus is sponsoring a two-year part-time MBA programme delivered in Bengaluru by Toulouse Business School in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-B), Bengaluru. The programme commenced from the academic year 2015-2016 and has been a success, with an initial enrolment of over 60 students.