Vibrant Gujarat team visits Silicon Valley

The first deal signed was for a facility that taught flying and provided maintenance and other services


Ritu Jha


The US-based Pacific State Aviation (PSA) has signed an MoU with India-based Blue Ray Aviation to develop a state-of-the-art flight training organization in Gujarat.


Arvind Agarwal, additional chief secretary, finance department, Government of Gujarat, who is leading the Vibrant Gujarat delegation to the US, said this at a meeting hosted by US India Strategic partnership Forum in Milpitas, California.


He also discussed the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, to be held January 18-20, 2019, in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat.


Agarwal said this partnership will open a new chapter in general aviation in Gujarat – and India. The deal, signed September 23, was the first MoU signed during the visit.


Located in Concord, California PSA provides pilot training, aircraft maintenance training, aircraft repairs besides selling aviation fuel to private jets.


PSA is one of the largest general aviation companies in the Bay Area with fixed base operations (FBO). A training academy approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). PSA also does repairs, maintenance and provides end-to-end services in general aviation.


Blue Ray Aviation Pvt. Ltd. (BRA) is approved by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation as a flying training company, It has operational infrastructure in Osmanabad (Maharashtra), and is now expanding into Mehsana (Gujarat). It provides flight training, maintenance services and private charter services. The company currently owns six Cessna 172 aircraft and one P68 twin-engine aircraft, and has a DGCA-approved maintenance facility. It has obtained the required land from GUJSAIL, a Gujarat PSU, inside the Mehsana airstrip. Hangar construction at Mehsana airstrip is in an advanced stage.


Rashid Yahya, Vice President PSA on signing the MoU told indica, ““We are together going to build a professional high-caliber flight academy in India.”


He said the chairman of Blue Ray Aviation is coming over September 30, to discuss more details about the agreement and establish a joint venture.


“They already have buildings; we are going to help expedite the growth of the flight academy because our end goal in India is to invest in technology and become the top academy, providing pilots to airlines,” Yahya said.” “Coming up in the next 20 years, there is going to be a shortage of pilots all around the world.”


He said PSA train pilots from across the globe and 90 percent students are international students and right now 10 students are from India.


Yahya, who is a native of Gujarat said India is far behind due to a lack of infrastructure so most of the pilot gets training outside India. Airspace is restricted there and there are lot of rules and regulations, and a dearth of airports.


Gaurav Verma, COO US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, who help seal the deal, told indica, “Our objective is highlighting the opportunity and solve the challenge and work with people in India.”


Anjini Kochar, India program director and senior research scholar at the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development said, “It was to discuss the research interests of faculty at Stanford and explore if there could be any partnerships with the Gujarat government.”

Vibrant Gujarat delegation at Stanford University.


During the meeting, the Precourt Energy Institution and Stanford faculty described their on-going projects and research in India.“The Gujarat delegation showed a lot of interest, and have suggested that they will get back to us after a few weeks with concrete steps describing how they could collaborate on specific projects that we described,” said Kocher.


During the US visit the delegation is also planning to visit Chicago, Houston, New York and Washington.


During the meet and greet a few shared concerns about investing in Gujarat, claiming there were bureaucratic tangles and complex taxes to negotiate.


Premal Dave, head of CII- Gujarat, told indica, “The ease of doing business is implemented but there are issues at the grassroot level. These will probably not just disappear but phase out over time.”


Vibrant Gujarat is a networking platform providing business opportunity and reverse buyer seller meet.


Asked if the ’Hire American and Buy American’ plan impact Gujarat as a manufacturing hub and exporter, Dave said, “We are not saying invest in Gujarat; we are saying come and do business in Gujarat. That does not mean come and manufacture in Gujarat.”


He admitted that there were some concerns about tariffs.

Sanjiv Taneja, (left) co-founder Abreezio, acquired by Qualcomm talking with Sunil Parekh, India co-chair for techXchange 2018 and Vibrant Gujarat delegate about challenges he has been facing in setting up a manufacturing unit in Gujarat.


“India is going through a very violate phase it’s a little challenging, but the business opportunities are increasing by the day. The entrepreneurship is playing a bigger role, “ Dave said. “But definitely there is ups and down, but the rupee will stabilize soon, things would come back to normal.”


Sunil Parekh, India co-chair for techXchange 2018, and part of Vibrant Gujarat since 2003, said that despite on Trump’s Make in America slogan, said Modi’s call to Make in India both countries wants to trade with each other. He said the solution is not zero sum game.


“We have to sit down and find out what the US and India can do together. It’s not competition; it’s cooperation and a desire to expand,” Parekh said.

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