Our sister magazine Air&Cosmos talked to Pierre Bourlot, Managing Director of French aerospace industries association GIFAS, about French companies’ participation in Aero India 2017.
Was Aero India 2017 a good show for the French aerospace industry?
Aero India 2017 was a very good show for the companies that we represent. In addition to a certain number of official high-level contacts, the show was an opportunity to make business contacts with Indian companies in preparation for future partnerships. Companies were also able to reinforce existing links with Indian partners, particularly in the light of the “Make in India” initiative. The large French systems integrators made a certain number of contract announcements, while the GIFAS SMEs took advantage of the show to consolidate their presence in India. One PME, First, which is already present in India, inaugurated a new production facility in Devanahalli Aerospace Park, near Bangalore. Another, Axon’Cable, has started construction work on a new facility a short distance away, which will employ around 200 people. Also in the Bangalore area, Liebherr Aerospace has opened a new office in Whitefield. French companies have a strong presence in India (for more than 15 years in some cases) and are reinforcing their positions based on contracts already booked and on emerging prospects through cooperation and the “Make in India” initiative.
What is the role of GIFAS at an event of this type?
At Aero India 2017, the French pavilion under the GIFAS umbrella contained 43 companies. If you add the six other companies exhibiting independently, France had the largest contingent of non-Indian companies at the show. Companies were present from all segments: civil and military aeronautics, defence and space. The pavilion, measuring more than 900m2, was a great success, as it created a unique platform for large groups and SMEs. Exhibitors are showing increasing interest in this type of arrangement. Two years ago, French industry was represented by “only” 33 companies. Clearly, the selection of the Rafale in India has been a catalyst for our member companies, who have understood the advantage of positioning themselves on this market, where cooperation is key.
Do you also facilitate contacts between SMEs and Indian companies?
Yes, GIFAS has a number of permanent missions to support our member companies, particularly SMEs. In addition to promotion and training, research and advocacy missions, we do indeed act as representative and coordinator for the French aerospace sector. GIFAS regularly organises missions to reinforce cooperation with companies in other countries by facilitating contacts for future partnerships and cooperation between companies in the French supply chain and their opposite numbers in other countries. Clearly, at Aero India 2017, this was one of the objectives behind the presence of GIFAS – to facilitate contacts between small French companies and local industry, and to organise meetings between French companies and Indian contractors.