Airbus to employ 500 engineers in India this year

BENGALURU: Airbus’s engineers in India are playing a crucial role in building what will be the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft, called ZEROe. Airbus plans to launch it by 2035. The teams in India are supporting other global tech hubs by developing simulations and models to support performance calculations, cooling systems for fuel cell design, and conducting safety analysis.

“We are preparing the future for sustainable aviation, and tech and engineering are at the heart of it,” said chief technical officer Sabine Klauke.

“We are looking at three different configurations. One is a turbofan design with 200 passengers powered by hydrogen rather than jet fuel with a range of 2,000 nautical miles. The second is a turboprop design with a capacity of 100 passengers with a 1,000 nautical miles target powered by hydrogen combustion. The third is a blended-wing body that opens multiple options for hydrogen storage and distribution.”

Klauke said the Bengaluru centre is working on different parts of these configurations. “It has been a long success story with our engineering centre in Bengaluru over the last 15 years. We are seeing an interplay of core competencies in aerospace combined with digital skills,” she said.

The team here is involved in studying the design and flow simulations for new hydrogen concepts, including air supply inlets, ventilation systems and manifolds. The team is also working on computational fluid dynamics to support flight test demonstrator, hydrogen tanks, etc.

“A new development is going to be a digitally-integrated way of working between engineering, functional requirements, design, manufacturing, and services,” Klauke said. Klauke leads a team of over 11,000 engineers globally, who design, develop, certify and ensure continuing airworthiness of all commercial aircraft products and services.

She said the European aerospace major is ramping up its hiring in India to 2,000 engineers by the end of this year from the current 1,500. Asked whether the company is insourcing tech work, Klauke said the focus is on building on right competencies and partnerships. The target, she said, is to do 75% of the work inhouse. Indian companies also contribute to Airbus programmes with engineering design, sub-assemblies, and major component assemblies of parts and structures.

Airbus procurement from India exceeds $650 million annually. More than 45 suppliers, both public and private, are engaged in providing services to Airbus for all the leading commercial platforms, including A320 and A350, as well as for several helicopter and defence platforms.