Forward towards growth
Yogesh Garg, Director, Sales – Asia Pacific – De Havilland in an exclusive interview with our Editor Mr. Kartikeya
AU: Could you outline your journey in the Aviation industry for our dear readers?
Following college, I started my career as an Apprentice at Pawan Hans Helicopters in Mumbai. After that, I joined Kingfisher Airlines in 2006, where I gained solid experience working as an Avionics Technician on their newly delivered A320 and IFE equipment. Kingfisher being the fastest growing airline in India at the time, It was a very challenging, yet a rewarding experience. During the first year of my stint with Kingfisher, I was awarded as the Best Employee which was very gratifying.
Keeping in line with my zeal for continuous learning and expanding my horizons, I joined Air Sahara/Jet Airways as an Aircraft Engineer. I got the opportunity to work on B737 Classic/NG and the CRJ regional jets. During my tenure at Jet Airways, I gained experience in Line Maintenance and headed the CRJ Fleet Reliability Improvement Cell team in 2010. Then the table turned and I moved from operator to manufacturer, in this case, to Bombardier as a Field Service Representative. I supported multiple operators and applications of Bombardier aircraft operating in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. During my time as a Support Engineer, I supported 42 countries and approximately 60 operators. In parallel to this big mandate, I completed my Executive Management Program from IIT Mumbai which helped immensely with fine tuning my managerial qualities. I was then promoted to Manager, Customer Support for South Asia, and we were able to increase the customer satisfaction and the Bombardier footprint in this region. While enhancing the customer experience, my team and I put a great deal of effort in building a product eco-system where we encouraged various operators to work closely with us, and also exchange their best practices, and specific resolutions amongst each other. This initiative contributed towards enhancing our overall product reliability, customer relationships, and cultivating a culture of mutual respect.
I was proud to be a part of, and lead, one of the largest regional aircraft transactions in this region – worth up to $1.7 billion USD with SpiceJet for up to 50 Dash 8-400 aircraft. I transitioned to De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (De Havilland Canada) when Bombardier sold the Dash 8 aircraft program. De Havilland Canada’s teams take a lot of pride in providing our customers with unmatched support and fleet solutions. During this pandemic, we were also able to deliver many aircraft to our existing as well as new customers, such as Biman Bangladesh Airlines, TAAG Angola, Ethiopian Airlines and others. Currently, I am responsible for Sales of new and pre-owned aircraft for the Asia Pacific region, including China, for De Havilland Canada.
AU: The whole world is slowly recovering from the unforeseen outbreak of the pandemic. How did this effect your order book and aircraft production?
The pandemic has impacted the entire aviation industry and De Havilland Canada is no exception. Yet, in spite of the challenges, we were able to deliver many aircraft during the pandemic. In this difficult time when new aircraft demand has been low, De Havilland Canada has focused on bringing value and versatility to our customers so that they can continue to operate in the pandemic. De Havilland Canada has been very agile and has invested in product support. At the start of the pandemic, we designed and offered a Simplified Package Freight (SPF) kit for our Dash 8 aircraft to support our operators. The converted aircraft are being used to provide essential transport services in many regions and allowed operators to restart flying.
Given that the prevailing industry circumstances have hindered the ability to confirm new aircraft sales, De Havilland Canada has announced that it will not produce new Dash 8-400 aircraft at its Toronto site beyond currently confirmed orders. This is a responsible and prudent measure that reflects current industry conditions and will limit strain on the market and De Havilland Canada’s supply base as the pandemic recovery occurs. De Havilland Canada’s objective is to resume new aircraft delivery at the earliest possible time, subject to market demand.
AU: How do you see the potential for the growth of the Aviation industry in the Asia Pacific region? Is the Indian market at par with the other markets in the same region?
The Asia Pacific region has been, and will continue to be, an important growth market for regional aircraft. This applies to the Indian market as well. The Indian market is the 3rd largest turboprop market in the Asia Pacific region with 81 in-service aircraft, and the world’s 6th largest turboprop market. Connectivity to secondary airports is important for the continued economic growth of India and regional aircraft will play an important role.
AU: How are you planning to increase De Havilland’s share of presence in the highly competitive Indian market?
We believe the attributes of the Dash 8-400 aircraft will continue to serve the Indian market well. India is a large country and the speed and range of the Dash 8-400 make it an ideal choice to serve the secondary markets. The extra capacity configuration for the Dash 8-400 aircraft, which accommodates up to 90 passengers, brings down the seat cost of the aircraft to an extremely competitive level. We believe the Dash 8-400 is the right equipment for the Indian market considering the flexibility and versatility it can offer. Currently, SpiceJet operates 90-seat Dash 8-400.
AU: Indian aviation has witnessed the dawn of sea planes recently. How are you planning to utilize this and the RCS & UDAN schemes to increase your sales?
Our sister company, Viking Air (https://www.vikingair.com), currently manufactures the Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, an extremely versatile aircraft for both land and sea operations. We would be pleased to provide you with a contact at Viking Air.
AU: The Aviation industry is turning towards greener aircraft for the future. Do you think the Indian airspace is equipped for such a transition? When do you think will be the earliest the greener aircraft will be dominating our skies?
We believe all parts of the world are ready for greener aircraft. Smaller electric aircraft are already flying so it won’t be too long before we see more green technology aircraft in the air. De Havilland Canada will be a leader on this journey and we recently announced that we are working with Pratt & Whitney Canada to integrate hybrid-electric propulsion (HEP) technology into a Dash 8-100 flight demonstrator. Here’s a link to our news release: https://dehavilland.com/en/news/posts/de-havilland-canada-working-with-pratt-whitney-canada-to-support-the-development-of-sustainable-hybrid-electric-aircraft-propulsion-technology
AU: What is your vision for the expansion of De Havilland’s sales and support entering the next decade?
Our market forecast suggests that there is a demand of over 1900 turboprop aircraft in the 20- to 99-seat category over the next 20 years. Towards the end of the first decade of this 20-year period, we will begin to see the arrival of new propulsion technology in the lower end of this market. The demand can be further stimulated dependent on the readiness and the ease of adaption with the new technology.
Our Customer Services team leverages a network of strategically located resources and our Mobile Repair Team to support our customers around the world, including India. We’re able to offer on-call Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) expertise to optimize the performance of Dash 8 aircraft in India and around the world.
From entry into service and throughout their life cycles, our Dash 8 Series aircraft benefit from specialized support and services that increase their efficiency and reduce associated maintenance costs.
Our support covers all Dash 8 Series aircraft structures and systems, and we aim to deliver exceptional value to our operators while enhancing the experience of travellers worldwide.