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HAL's Dornier planes set for commercial flights

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A Dornier aircraft. An internet photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Commercial use of 'Made in India' planes is soon likely to be a reality with state-owned HAL successfully completing the trials of 19-seater Dornier aircraft.

Officials said Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is expected to get the requisite certification from aviation regulator DGCA this week that would allow use of Dornier planes for commercial purposes.

The 19-seater Dornier 228 aircraft is manufactured by the HAL under licence from Swiss technology company RUAG for the defence forces and European markets.

HAL carried out the trial flights of Dornier in order to press them into commercial use at Kanpur and it went off well, a company official said.

The process for the aircraft type certification has been "completed" and HAL would receive the formal approval on December 28, a senior DGCA official said.

According to the company official, the regulator has already given the certificate of airworthiness to the aircraft, following trial flights that were monitored by a DGCA team.

The use of Dornier 228 for commercial flights would give a big push to the Government's Make-in-India programme.

Currently, domestic airlines shop abroad all aircraft irrespective of size or weight.

Besides, introduction of the HAL-made plane for civilian use is expected to provide a fillip for the ambitious regional air connectivity scheme – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) – that seeks to connect unserved and under-served regions at an affordable cost.

On how HAL could ensure adequate supply of Dornier aircraft once orders start coming in, the company official said it already has a special assembly line at Kanpur.

"Everything will depend on the orders from airlines. We have to wait and see," the official added.

Earlier this month, a civil aviation ministry had said the Government was considering manufacturing civilian aircraft and would like to move ahead with the plan "very fast".

The country's domestic aviation market is one of the fastest growing in the world and has registered high double digit growth for more than two years. Besides, many airlines are embarking on ambitious expansion plans.

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