New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) A high-powered committee under space scientist G. Madhavan Nair is conducting a feasibility study for an indigenous 90-seat civilian plane to fly on regional and feeder routes, an official spokesperson said Wednesday.
'The National Civil Aircraft Development Project involves configuration, market survey, development of a joint venture and full-scale engineering development for the ambitious plan,' said the spokesperson for the science and technology ministry here.
The project is also expected to draw from the experience of aerospace experts in state-run institutions such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Hindustan Aeronautics.
The study has been commissioned by the state-run Council for Scientific and Industrial Research under a 15-member committee and will be in a collaboration with the aviation arm of the research institution, National Aerospace Laboratories.
'The report is expected sometime in the middle of 2011.'
According to officials involved in the project, the design and development of the prototype is estimated to cost around $1 billion (a little over Rs.5,000 crore). The flight trials are expected in 2015-16.
Another mandate given to the expert panel is to explore a public-private partnership right at the beginning. Interested industrial houses will be asked to submit their expression of interest for selection, officials said.
Various estimates indicate a latent demand of around 500-600 regional jets in India, and 3,500-4000 globally. The major players in the segment include Canadian Bombardier, Brazil's Embraer, European ATR and USA's Cessna.