India Aviation 2010 begins on a sombre note

The Begumpet airport had a festive look ahead of India Aviation 2010, the second international exhibition and conference on civil aviation. A Surya Kiran crashing into a residential area and injuring unsuspecting residents was the last thing one would have expected from an air show to mark the inaugural. The airport had just begun to be the centre of activity, as though woken up from its slumber. Aircraft big and small have been flying into the airport since a few days before.

Aircraft from 18 participating countries are on display. As we walked through the static display area on Tuesday evening, a day before the event, the ground staff was busy with last-minute preparations. Some aviation delegates from different countries were in position, talking to industry representatives, aviation enthusiasts and students while a few others grabbed a quick meal. For many of them, it's their first visit to Hyderabad. Arriving from the U.S., France and Hong Kong among other nations, they are waiting to get a taste of the city. On board Qatar Airways' flight A7BBB, a group of aviation students were all ears as the captain gave them a glimpse of the action on the cockpit. Lined up among the static displays are Religare Voyages, a few Bell helicopters, the Bombardier business jet Global 5000 and Hawker Beechcraft.

On the right end of the static display are the chalets of airline companies. The chalets, starkly different from each other, speak of meticulous interior designing. At the GVK office, designed by interior designer Dinaz Noria and team, the buzz is about the world-class interiors of the six-seater private aircraft of the GVK group made by Dassault Aviation, France.

Unlike India Aviation 2008, the star attraction A380 will be missing. Some solace is the handing over of the Airbus 320 to Air India and Indigo and the presence of Boeing 777-300.

Visitors will need to be content watching the choppers and aircrafts from a distance. The general exhibition being held as part of the aviation conference will have a few models on display for a closer look.