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 Show Daily, Day Two, Aero India 2011          

"Diamond is a gem of an aircraft"


Vivek Saxena, Group President, Marketing with
Surinder Mehta, Chairman Prime Group

While the Aero India 2011 show displays the best from all over the world, we had a chance to catch up with Surinder Mehta, Padma Shri and Chairman Prime Group - PCI Ltd, which has several companies under its fold, including Diamond Aircraft.

Mehta, whose Prime Group is in its 25th year, was recently awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the International Aerospace Awards 2011. Mehta spoke particularly about Austria's Diamond Aircraft company, which offers the DA 40 (single engine) & DA 42NG (twin engine) light aircraft which feature high end avionics and low cost of operation.

"As of now, we have thirty two aircraft flying in India and have ten orders in the books", said Mehta.The future, he said, is bright and "we want to deliver new and cutting edge technology".

However, there are still challenges for the light aircraft, mainly a customs duty of 25 percent. "This is one of the main reasons that put off our buyers. Besides there is lack of infrastructure and non - availability of small airports".

The challenges aside, Mehta has much to be happy about with his Diamond planes. "Instead of 100 LL, we have upgraded our fuel to ATF which is turbine fuel. The 100LL gives out lead and is harmful to the environment. ATF turbine fuel is more powerful, efficient and most importantly, eco - friendly."

With regard to the Aero India 2011 show, he was happy to see great improvements this year. " It's much better in display and the big response from other countries has given a boost. With the Indian economy on a strong footing, it's adding to the positive mood," he said.

When asked about his views on the IAF, Mehta said that it was sad that for so many years the country lagged behind due to outdated technology. "This puts us in the back seat. We need to evaluate and react on time as we all know technology plays a vital role today," he said.

However, he believed that progress was finally being made and as India was getting its technology act together, the IAF would reap huge benefits.


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