Aero India 2023 | From modest beginnings in the 90’s to being Asia’s largest airshow

According to the organisers, about five lakh visitors were expected to attend the event physically during Aero India 2023

Updated - February 13, 2023 01:59 pm IST

Published - February 12, 2023 11:09 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka chief secretary Vandita Sharma, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, at curtain raiser press conference ahead of Aero India 2023, in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Karnataka chief secretary Vandita Sharma, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, at curtain raiser press conference ahead of Aero India 2023, in Bengaluru on Sunday. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

The biennial Aero India event which is held in February is a one-stop destination for aerospace and defence companies from all over the world.

Top armament manufacturers to MSMEs and start-ups world over want to showcase their aerial assets and products at the Air Force Station Yelahanka which has been the venue for the airshow for close to three decades.

Today, the airshow is touted to be the largest in Asia and the 14th edition of Aero India is the biggest ever as it is likely to witness the participation of 98 countries.

According to the organisers, about five lakh visitors are expected to attend the event physically during Aero India 2023, making it the most popular and among one of the largest attended air shows around the world.

Ambassador Elizabeth Jones, U.S. Embassy New Delhi Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. along with (L-R) Jedidiah P. Royal, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, Maj. Gen. Julian C. Cheater, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, and Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Senior Defense Official, U.S. Embassy New Delhi, during a press conference US Mission to India - Aero India 2023, in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Ambassador Elizabeth Jones, U.S. Embassy New Delhi Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. along with (L-R) Jedidiah P. Royal, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, Maj. Gen. Julian C. Cheater, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, and Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Senior Defense Official, U.S. Embassy New Delhi, during a press conference US Mission to India - Aero India 2023, in Bengaluru on Sunday. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

However, the origins of the airshow were modest. The first-ever airshow was held in 1993 and it was then known as Avia India with a modest display of a few aviation assets.

The biennial air show, renamed Aero India in 1996, has become bigger and bigger. To start off, only air assets belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAFs) were on display.

But in the subsequent edition held in the 2000’s many foreign nations started participating in large numbers and it only grew bigger and bigger in the years to come as foreign companies competed against each other to win the IAF prized Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal.

Aero India Map

Aero India Map | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Even the COVID-19 pandemic could not come in way of Aero India, as the edition of 2021 became the first airshow to be held amidst the pandemic

That edition of the airshow was also unique as it was the world’s first Hybrid exhibition wherein the business elements of the event were held in both physical as well as virtual modes.

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