Aero India-2011 creates history as largest ever
The Aero India show that began here on Wednesday has smashed all records in terms of its size and content, entering history books as the largest edition of the biennial event so far.
The present-day version of Aero India, deemed the biggest air show in Asia, had begun as a modest display of a few aviation assets as Avia-India in 1993.
The show, renamed Aero India since 1998, has only become bigger and more popular which must rank among one of the largest attended air shows around the world.
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According to statistics given by the Department of Defence Production (DDP), the online request for registration of general visitors to the air show this year has already exceeded the 1.75-lakh mark, a lakh more than the official 75,000 footfalls in 2009.
The organisers are expecting the figure to reach 2.75 lakh. With enquiries and requests not showing any signs of abatement, Aero India-2011 is clearly on its way to top the charts.
Discounting Avia-India in 1993, the growth in Aero India since 1998 to 2005 had been marginal, defence ministry officials pointed out.
'It began showing a quantum increase in the gross exhibition area only from the 2007 edition. While it hovered between the 7,000-18,000 sq mts mark from 1998 to 2005, it sharply rose to 30,000 sq mts in 2007 and 44,000 sq mts in 2009,' an official said.
This year, the organisers have increased the gross area to 75,000 sq mts, a significant 70 percent increase over 2009, a fact mentioned by Defence Production Secretary Raj Kumar Singh at his address at the air show's inaugural ceremony.
There are 675 exhibitors in this edition of Aero India - a 16 percent increase over the last edition that had 581 exhibitors in all.
As with all previous editions, this time too international exhibitors score over the domestic ones in terms of participation.
In 2009, the gap was marginal -- 303 international exhibitors against 289 domestic. This year, the figure is 380 against 295, a growth of 25 percent for the international exhibitors against a mere five for domestic exhibitors.
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With 30 countries participating this year and 350 official representation from 60 countries, the delegations' number has seen a three-fold-plus increase, both official and business, with the US leading the pact with 250, Germany at number two with 35, Italy 10, and other countries sharing the rest.
Based on online request for business passes, around 70,000 business visitors and delegates are expected to throng the venue, a figure twice that of 2009, through the first three days of the five-day show.
There are eight country pavilions and 63 chalets at the venue, with exhibitions, flying and static display an integral part of the event.
This year has recorded a 62 percent increase in flight, static and flight-cum-static display by civil and military aircraft over 2009.
With the defence ministry promoting the air show as both military and civil aerospace event, there are 27 aircraft belonging to the civil aviation sector in the air show, marking a 54 percent representation compared to just 46 percent military component.
In all, over 100 aircraft would be witnessed at Aero India-2011.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) too has set up a exhibition of its works at a stall, which is expected to be another major attraction.
Dave Lindahl Scam