The biggest aviation/aerospace clusters

Aviation has been around for more than a century now since the Wright Brothers invented the airplane. Still regarded as one of the most technologically advanced industries, aviation has seen the rise and fall of airlines, manufacturers, and other companies since its inception. This has led to cities developing into major aviation/aerospace clusters around the world. Here is a brief snapshot on some of them in no particular order.

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Boeing 747-8: Power of the GEnx engine

The GEnx engine is the fastest-selling high-thrust engine in GE’s history. An engine that also powers the Boeing 787, the GEnx has received more than 1,400 orders to date with a list price of over $20 billion.

Based on proven GE90 architecture, the GEnx engine succeeds GE’s CF6 engine. Compared to the CF6 engine, the GEnx will offer up to 15 percent improved fuel efficiency, which translates to 15 percent less CO2. The GEnx’s innovative twin-annular pre-swirl (TAPS) combustor will dramatically reduce NOx gases as much as 60 percent below today’s regulatory limits and other regulated gases as much as 90 percent. Based on the ratio of decibels to pounds of thrust, the GEnx will be the quietest engine GE has produced due to the large, more efficient fan blades that operate at slower tip speed, resulting in about 30 percent lower noise levels. The GEnx will be the world’s only jet engine with both a front fan case and fan blades made of carbon fiber composites.

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Nagpur – Future Aviation Hub

The passenger airline business is booming in India. The number of commercial aircraft is estimated to grow to more than 500 from the current 270 over the next five years. New airlines like Kingfisher, Indigo, Spice Jet, Go Air and Air Deccan are expanding their fleet.

A few months ago, American aircraft manufacturer Boeing decided to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Nagpur with a $100 million investment. Now, it’s the turn of European Airbus Industrie to follow suit. It has approached the state government to set up a similar facility near Nagpur.

Boeing had earlier said its investment in Nagpur would come on the back of a joint venture with Air India. It is seen as Boeing’s commitment to plough back part of the money it makes by selling 68 aircraft to AI.

The rush to invest in Nagpur was triggered by civil aviation minister Praful Patel’s plan to convert the Orange City, the geographic centre of India, into an international cargo hub. As a first step, he initiated a plan to build an airport for cargo operations.

Cargo carriers are expected to get another shot in the arm when the many special economic zones (SEZs) that have been proposed go on stream. It is expected that aircrafts dedicated exclusively to cargo will go up to 550 in the near future from the current 10-15.

Besides, big business houses have announced their plans to enter the organised retail business where logistics are crucial and cargo crafts will be in demand. It is believed that this is the reason Reliance is in the market for anywhere between 50 and 100 aircrafts to power its retail business.