Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Sept 2010 Contents 10 AsianAviation | SEPTEMBER 2010
India's Mahindra Group is aiming to expand
the product line of Australian general aviation
manufacturer GippsAero -- formerly Gippsland
Aeronautics -- with plans to bring a 10-seat
stretch of the popular GA8 Airvan and the
relaunched Nomad to market within the next
The Mahindra Group, better known for
automotive production, announced plans to
purchase a majority of Latrobe Valley, Victoria-
based Gippsland at the end of last year.
Mahindra plans to invest US$20 million in the
manufacturer over the next two years.
An initial US$2 million has been invested to
expand the company's business in Australia.
This initial investment will be used to fund
the new, 18-seat GA18 (the relaunched
Nomad), the 10-seat GA10 Airvan and related
production operations, says Arvind Mehra,
executive director and chief executive officer of
Mahindra Aerospace, the group's aircraft and
aerostructures manufacturing division.
"Our plan is to bring the GA10 to market first,
closely followed by the GA18, both of which will
occur in the coming two years," he says.
Gippsland has been considering developing
a 10-seat stretch of its popular eight-seat GA8
utility turboprop for some time, in response
to customer demand. It has also been seeking
funding to launch the GA18 programme since
it acquired the type certificate for the Nomad
from Boeing in June 2008.
The GA18 will feature new engines and
propellers, a glass cockpit and weight-saving
measures. Mehra declines to comment on how
many commitments Gippsland has for the
GA18, but last year the company had letters of
intent for nine aircraft.
Mahindra is already developing the five-
seat NM5 aircraft in conjunction with India's
National Aerospace Laboratories. "The design
phase is complete and we have already started
to make the tooling from which we will build
the prototype aircraft," says Mehra, adding
that a prototype will be produced in Australia
"Mahindra Aerospace is committed to
consolidating and expanding Gippsland's
business in Australia. The Airvan GA8 has
already proved its airworthiness and is in great
demand amongst buyers in both Australia and
overseas," he says.
The latest version of the GA8, a
turbocharged variant, has been selling well
despite the global financial crisis, Mehra says.
Some 15 of the type are now in service in a
variety of roles, including with long-term Airvan
customer the Mission Aviation Fellowship,
which has added three turbocharged Airvans to
its 14-strong GA8 fleet for operation in Papua
New Guinea. -- Emma Kelly
A group of Australian aviation associations
have launched a General Aviation Rescue
Package in an attempt to highlight the
problems facing the country's general
aviation industry and to revive the struggling
The group -- comprising the Aerial
Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA),
the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association,
the Aviation Maintenance Repair and
Overhaul Business Association, the Regional
Aviation Association of Australia and the
Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia --
is proposing a 10-point rescue plan.
The plan includes calls for the country's
aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety
Authority (CASA), to abandon its current
European-based approach to regulatory
reform and instead adopt a model based on
the United States of "simple regulations for
simple operations". The group also calls for
security requirements for general aviation
(GA) aircraft and pilots to be in line with
US practice, while the regulatory burden on
GA should be substantially simplified and
CASA should establish a high-level joint
task force to work with industry on improving
efficiency and effectiveness and reducing
costs, while the regulator's culture should be
changed to include fostering and promoting
aviation, the group says. CASA needs to be
set "on a track of supporting GA rather than
killing it", it adds.
The group calls for the government to
engage with the GA industry better, by
establishing a ministerial forum with leading
industry associations, and to give aviation a
higher policy and funding priority through
tax reform and government programmes.
Launch of the GA Rescue Plan follows earlier
attempts to address the sector's problems,
including the GA Action Agenda and the
subsequent Aviation White Paper.
The associations believe that Australia's
GA sector has great potential but has been
ignored by government policy makers. One
of the problems is that the government has
failed to objectively determine the benefits
of GA to the Australian community and
The group says GA's contribution
to the economy was "embarrassingly
underestimated" in the government's Aviation
White Paper, released last year, with the
paper claiming the sector only employs 3,000
people, whereas the true figure is "many
times that number".
"The fact that even the government
does not know the size of the sector or the
contribution it makes speaks volumes for the
current approach to GA policy," it adds.
Further government inaction will "continue
to kill off GA", the group warns.
AAAA Chief Executive Officer Phil Hurst
says the GA Action Agenda and the White
Paper were "missed opportunities that
suffered because the authors ignored most of
the input from industry". -- Emma Kelly
Mahindra plans growth for GippsAero
Australian group launches 10-point GA Rescue Package
GippsAero plans to release a stretched
version of the popular GA8 Airvan.
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