As per the Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) located in Bengaluru that is currently developing a 19-seater indigenous light transport aircraft ‘Saras Mk2’ has plans to design and develop a 70-seater aircraft. The Minister was speaking to the media after laying the foundation for NAL’s system check facility, aircraft integration facility and the inauguration of smart aerospace composite manufacturing facility.
“Development of a 70-seater aircraft has always been in the long-term vision of NAL. However, we need to bring the Ministry of Civil Aviation on board as well as also take the approval of the Prime Minister’s office. Also, we will have to take scientists also on board, so as a Science and Technology Minister, I will facilitate them to move in the right direction,” he said. Director of NAL Jitendra J Jadhav said that since NAL has a fair amount of experience, it is capable of undertaking the design of 70-seater aircraft soon. He went on to say “First, we will have to get in-principle approval from Ministry of Science and Technology and Civil Aviation as also from the Ministry of Finance. Thereafter, we can finish design phase in about 18 months. This will be the preliminary design phase. After this, we will submit the proposal to the government. Once we get government sanction, we will commence development of the 70-seater aircraft.”