“One day, aircraft of the future will also be designed in this facility,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, during his speech at the inauguration of the Boeing India Engineering & Technology Center (BIETC) in Bengaluru, along with the launch of its Boeing Sukanya Program that aims to empower girl children from across India and help them enter aviation sector.
Boeing’s 43-acre BIETC campus built with an investment of Rs 1,600 crore in Bengaluru, is the aircraft maker’s largest facility outside the United States and will be a hub for developing the next generation of aerospace solutions for the world in both civil and defense sectors.
“We are honoured and privileged to support Prime Minister Modi’s transformative vision for India, and we are grateful to have him dedicate the Boeing campus to foster aerospace innovation in the country,” David L. Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO, said in a press statement.
The new campus will also serve as the hub for Boeing’s partnerships with Indian startups and universities including its collaborations with seven incubators across IIT Mumbai, IIT Delhi, IIT Gandhinagar, IIT Madras, IISC Bengaluru, T-Hub Hyderabad, and KIIT Bhubaneshwar.
The announcement further reinforces Karnataka’s position as the aviation hub of the country, as it already accounts for 65% of the country's aerospace-related exports and is home to 25% of India’s aircraft and spacecraft industry. Over the years, the state has witnessed the entry of top global aviation players including Airbus, Honeywell Aerospace and GE, on the back of a strong presence of Indian Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) giants such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in the aerospace and defence sector.
“Bengaluru is a city that connects aspiration with achievements and innovation,” said PM Modi in his inauguration address.
The Prime Minister was joined by Governor of Karnataka Thaawarchand Gehlot, Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition – Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Government of Karnataka R. Ashoka and Boeing Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Pope, along with other senior Boeing executives.
“The abundance of the talented workforce and skilled manpower makes Karnataka a natural choice for technology and knowledge-driven industry,” said CM Siddaramaiah.
The Bengaluru campus will house Boeing's engineering, testing, research and technology teams. The BIETC will also provide support in design, manufacturing, aircraft testing system development and digital solutions that drive sustainability in aviation.
“I am confident that you will not have to wait too long for Boeing’s first fully designed and manufactured in India aircraft,” said PM Modi adding that the facility will be a testament to India’s determination of Make in India and Make for World.
Encouraging women aviation aspirants
The Boeing Sukanya Program will support women in aviation across multiple stages of their professional careers starting at the early education level.
The Program plans to set up 150 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Labs in girls' schools, especially in tier 2 & 3 towns, to engage as many as 75,000 students and support them with flight training curriculum.
Boeing will also provide scholarships, fund simulators, and develop career development courses for those female students training to become pilots.
“We are thrilled for Prime Minister Modi to have personally launched the Boeing Sukanya Program. Together, we will help expand opportunity for women across India to pursue careers and leadership positions in the aviation sector,” said Stephanie Pope, Chief Operating Officer, The Boeing Company.
Boeing’s stronghold in India
With an annual sourcing of $1 billion from India, Boeing has a significant presence in India as its team here houses the largest engineering and R&D talent in any country outside the United States, with more than 6,000 employees.
Boeing’s supply chain boasts more than 300 local partners in India and a joint venture to manufacture fuselages for Apache helicopters and vertical fin structures for the 737 family of aircraft.