Viewpoint
Paris Air Show preview

Paris Air Show preview: Chris Jones, global aerospace and defence lead, Cyient

Previewing the upcoming Paris Air Show, Chris Jones, global aerospace and defence lead at engineering company Cyient discusses what he expects to see at this year’s event and how the firm hopes it will aid its plan to expand its aerospace offering.

What will Cyient be showcasing at Paris?

Interestingly this year will be our first Paris Air Show under the Cyient name. We’ve attended air shows previously, but prior to May last year, we were still operating as Infotech Enterprises. Now under a new name, Cyient is looking for fairly rapid strategic growth, both organic and inorganic in the aerospace sector. One of the things we’ll be taking to Paris for the first time is product. Cyient made its first product acquisition at the beginning of this year by acquiring systems developer Rangsons Electronics, and this means we’ll have product on our stand and won’t just be selling engineering services.

What will a firm like Cyient get out of an event like the Paris Air Show?

Among our primary aims for Paris is for other firms to develop a degree of familiarity with us as an organisation and what we do. Beforehand, without product, we’ve been part of the aerospace infrastructure but with limited differentiation, as there are a lot of organisations from India like us that provide engineering services. One of the motivations of changing our name was to differentiate us from our previous Infotech incarnation, which had far too many too similar sounding companies. One of the reasons we’ve developed a strong marketing profile for this show is to develop familiarity as Cyient so that when people think of aerospace engineering and product they’ll associate Cyient with offering both of these.

Is there a particular area in aerospace where Cyient is looking to grow?

We are broadly spread within the aerospace sector, covering services for predominantly engines, followed by structures, avionics systems and cabin interiors. The growth areas we've pinpointed are consistent with the industry pattern of consolidation. My aspiration is to become a mini tier one company possessing the tier one principle of design and build, but one not competing with the GKN's, Spirit's or GE's of this world, but having these firms as potential customers too. Having previously worked at GKN for 12 years, my experience of a tier one organisation is that they invest very heavily in winning new programmes but large proportions of work that they win ends up in the supply chain which doesn’t necessarily support the OEM in the investment required to win the programmes. I definitely see an opportunity for Cyient to occupy a space in that realm.

Has Cyient plans to grow the MRO side of its business?

Absolutely. We do MRO activity predominantly on engines, and I have aspirations for us to develop out MRO capabilities and look for partnerships particularly in the geographies where there is predicted significant growth such as India, China and South East Asia. Carriers operating in these regions aren’t going to want to have their aircraft out of service and fly them to Toulouse or Seattle to have simple C-checks and D-checks, but rather companies to do the maintenance nearby. I’d like to see us involved in MRO physically as well as from an engineering perspective. We are growing our engineering capability in that domain and I’d like to see us maybe involved in a joint venture (JV) or partnership somewhere down the line. It's not something Cyient is closed to and having worked in JV structures in the past, it’s certainly something we are open to discussing and will hopefully get some interest in during Paris.

What have been some of the market’s biggest technology changes?
There’s a lot of talk about connectivity right now and whether that is driven by consumer requirements. Having the technology and capability for in-flight connectivity doesn’t mean there’s the bandwidth to facilitate it.

As an Indian firm, much has been made of the country’s burgeoning commercial aviation market and Cyient will be conducting a presentation on India at Paris. How do you foresee Indian aviation growing over time?

The motivation of the Modi government to make really push India’s defence sectors will support the commercial aviation environment as well. A great driver of its development is the potential for growth in consumer traffic. The defence industry will also help as it will force a technology transfer over to commercial aviation. While it will grow at a fast rate this will also come with challenges faced by any developing nation.

What have been some of the market’s biggest technology changes?

More importantly for the industry, there is also the issue of connectivity of the aircraft to the ground. When an aircraft has a fault developing whilst it is flying, this can be communicated appropriately to a ground station so that when the aircraft lands, it has very limited AOG time because they know what’s wrong and what to look for. What we’re seeing alongisde this is a significant increase in data analytics, highlighted by us acquisitions two data analytics firms in the past 12 months to boost our analytics capability. The engine OEMs in particular have high volumes of data that need to be worked on constantly. Increasingly there are the air framers or the aircraft systems providers who are looking at how they can support that increase in availabity of the product. The biggest challenge to overcome is the relevancy of the data, as more isn’t always better. Aviation firms need to intelligently mine these large swathes of data rather than just collate them.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish