Aero India 2019 to remain in Bengaluru, says Centre
The New Indian Express had first reported on discussions that were afoot to move the air show, which has been hosted by Bengaluru since the past several iterations, to a new venue, most likely in UP.
BENGALURU: After many weeks of suspense in which the Union Government refused to divulge if the country's biggest airshow, Aero India 2019, would be moved out of Bengaluru, the Government on Saturday finally confirmed that the biennial air show would be held in the city this time around as well.
The New Indian Express had first reported on discussions that were afoot to move the air show, which has been hosted by Bengaluru since the past several iterations, to a new venue, most likely located in Uttar Pradesh. The state's Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had made a request to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to select Lucknow as the venue for the event, triggering angry reactions from various political parties in Karnataka.
Air Marshal (retd) B K Pandey told Express the idea to shift Aero India to Lucknow struck him as strange. “The Ministry of Defence cannot shift the event to any other city as the requirements to host the show is fulfilled only by Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The proposal to host Aero India at Bakshi Ka Talab could not have been met as the facility is small,” he said.
Hosting it in Lucknow will have caused logistical problems to both international and Indian companies looking to participate. While Yelahanka Air Base has an international airport close by, it’s not the same in Lucknow or other cities, he said.
Air Marshal (retd) S P Singh said Bengaluru has the advantage of infrastructure required for the event, which is being improved year after year since the event became a government programme in 1997.
The administration of Yelahanka Air Base has a working knowledge of how an event of such a scale should be organised. The fact that almost all of the aerospace industries are based here is the reason why Aero India is held in Bengaluru. Col (retd) H S Shankar, founder of Alpha Design Technologies Ltd, anticipates an improved version of Aero India owing to the buzz around ‘Gaganyaan’ — India’s Human Space Programme.
An expert said the initial rumour of shifting the event from Bengaluru was probably for political reasons. “I was surprised when I heard the discussions. Even Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman added to the confusion by saying that many states have requested the MoD to host the event,” he said.
While it is clear that hosting the event away from Bengaluru will not serve the aerospace industry, it will also have affected Sitharaman’s political prospects as she is a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, he added.