Flying success - A pioneer in cutting-edge aerospace ecosystem carves out a niche for itself
Business India – March 26, 2018
The 34 km road from the airport of Belagavi – as Belgaum, in Karnataka, is known since 2014 – winds along derelict dwellings and sugarcane, tobacco and maize fields to lead to a village called Hattargi over which looms a beehive of fabrication, machining, treatment, assemblies and warehousing that is India’s foremost high-technology Aerospace Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The country’s first notified precision engineering and manufacturing SEZ is a full-fledged aerospace ecosystem of cutting edge technologies that straddles 260 acres. The enclave is dominated by the aerospace giant, Aequs, which produces critical machine parts for some of the most modern airliners like Airbus 380 neo (new engine option) and Boeing 787 Dreamliner and counts Airbus, Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Saab, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Dassault, Tata Motors, Bosch and Safran among its clientele.
The SEZ is unique for a company as young as Aequs, set up in 2014, which has steadily built expertise in the manufacture of precision-machined aero structures, engine and actuations components, landing gear, and assemblies that meet the exacting quality standards of the aerospace industry. Aequs’s capabilities extend to manufacturing and assembly process planning, assembly tooling design and development, value engineering and analysis, reverse engineering, and CNC (computer numerical control) programme coding.
“Aequs today generates about $100 million in sales with 1,500 employees worldwide and aims at being a $300 million company by 2022,” says Aravind Melligeri (chairman & CEO, Aequs Inc., the holding company who operates out of Spring, Texas), the man who started it all. “Aequs has hitherto invested $100 million in infrastructure, machinery and operations, and looks forward to investing a further $200 million over the next five years.” Aequs is derived from ‘aequus’, Latin for ‘equal’ or ‘level’.
Forty-eight-year-old Melligeri, who visits his India facilities once every one or two months, says his customers have ‘a huge appetite’ and if Aequs could absorb their orders, they would gladly place more. “The future plan for growth is to absorb more orders, both in terms of volume and diversity,” he adds. Melligeri, who is also chairman & CEO, Aequs Pvt Ltd and promoter
of Aequs SEZ, regrets that, while aerospace manufacturing is worth about $100 billion globally, India’s share has been a paltry $250 million. Aequs is today India’s fastest growing aerospace company, with a CAGR of 50 per cent over the past five years. Its acquisitions in the US and France have enabled it to establish the first global aerospace ecosystem of this scale. The company is the lynchpin of India’s aerospace industry, which is gradually
coming into its own, Hattargi being one among several such hubs to have