Mahindras take to skies with 5-seater aircraft --Sep 14, 2011,

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  1. JAISWAL

    JAISWAL Senior Member Senior Member

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    MUMBAI: In what is being described as a
    milestone for both the country's indigenous civil
    aviation and the public-private partnership
    programmes, the software-to-transportation
    Mahindra group in collaboration with CSIR
    National Aerospace Laboratories has successfully
    test-flown a five-seater aircraft. The project,
    which took three years to move from the
    drawing board to the skies, is billed to
    revolutionize Indian transportation over the next
    decade.
    The aircraft has completed five tests in the last ten
    days and it could take six months or more before
    it gets the FAR 23 certification, which guarantees
    the highest standards of safety. It could then go
    for commercial development. Once ready, each
    aircraft is expected to cost around $400,000
    (about Rs 2 crore) and would also be the first
    such commercial aircraft in the world which
    offers a five seat configuration.
    For the Mahindra group, it is the second leap into
    aviation after it acquired the Australia-based
    aircraft maker Gippsland Aviation about two
    years ago. For the $12.5-billion Mahindra group,
    it's like reliving its own heritage and marks the
    third major intervention for the group in
    transportation after the introduction of Jeep in the
    mid-40s and Scorpio in 2002-both of which left
    an indelible mark on the country's transportation
    roadmap. "It may not have the sex appeal of jets
    but it would open up areas which were virtually
    not accessible earlier and aviation would become
    an alternate mode of transport to connect such
    remote locations," a visibly excited Anand
    Mahindra told TOI describing the reach and
    potential of the initiative. Top group officials
    compared the potential of the programme to the
    Scorpio, the group's SUV, which helped
    increased the M&M market cap around 50 times,
    seen to have been the game changer for the
    group. It also brings Anand Mahindra, one small
    step closer to his cherished dream of being the
    Embraer (a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer) of
    India. "It has the potential of democratizing
    aviation," he added.


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