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China and India will compete in aerospace—but it may take a while

It might take up to 15 years for emerging markets to compete, but Canada can’t afford to let up, according to Quebec-based aerospace think-tank


December 6, 2011
by The CANADAN PRESS

MONTREAL—Aerospace industry-watchers are warning emerging powers like China and India will compete in aircraft manufacturing—but it might take a while.

The head of an industry think-tank suggests India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., is heavily involved in building helicopters and has plans to develop its own fighters and commercial aircraft.

But Suzanne Benoit, CEO of Aero Montreal, says India still has some catching up to do.

“It’s not really a commercial company, it’s a government-owned company so maybe the pace of development may not be as fast as other airframers,” she says. “It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but you never know in India—the government may decide to put a lot of money into it.”

Benoit made her comments during a two-day forum on aerospace innovation organized by Aero Montreal, a think-tank for Quebec’s aerospace sector.

And while the Chinese are also developing their own industry, Canada is still strong when it comes to aircraft innovation, concept and design, she says.

“What we have to remember is (that’s) where the market will be in the future and I don’t think it’s a bad thing because our companies will sell to them,” she says.

But Canada can’t sit back and relax, even though it may take 15 to 20 years before the Chinese aircraft industry takes off, she says.

“We can’t sit on our laurels because the two emerging nations have an enormous number of engineers graduating. I would say in India, 300,000 engineers a year graduate and there’s also an enormous number in China,” she says.

Canada’s aerospace and space sectors generate annual revenues of over $22 billion and employ nearly 80,000 Canadians in more than 400 firms across the country.