The sweet man of India will manufacture ultralight aircraft in the Surendranagar of Gujarat

RAJKOT: Aircraft manufacturing is ready to take wings. Dhanji Patel (Makson), promoter of the Makson Group and known as the candy man of India, has finalized plans to venture to manufacture ultralight airplanes near his hometown, Surendranagar.

The businessman who has become a politician, who makes confectionery products for several of the world's leading chocolate brands, has recently partnered with companies in Serbia to obtain technical assistance to manufacture two- and four-seater airplanes along with air ambulances. Patel was elected as BJP MLA of the Wadhwan constituency in the 2017 elections.

In confirming his plan, Patel told TOI: “Component manufacturers in Serbia have agreed to provide technical support. We hope to obtain legal permits to configure the unit soon. ”

While he refused to disclose the amount of investment, Patel said the aircraft's engines and blades will be imported, while all other parts will be obtained locally. “We are sending a team to Serbia to receive manufacturing training. The plane will be assembled in the Surendranagar unit, ”he added.

When asked why he is venturing into the aviation sector, Patel said it was his dream for the last 25 years to make airplanes in his home state.

This plane does not need a runway to take off or land, but only a simple runway that can also be done on farms. But it requires a political decision. If 3-4 runways are made near Ahmedabad, getting here can be done very quickly. Such planes are very common in foreign countries, ”he added.

Initially, Patel plans to manufacture 25 of these planes in the first year. The cost of one of those planes is around Rs 70 lakh, according to him.

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the civil aviation regulatory body in India, has framed the guidelines for ultralight airplanes.

The Patel company has been engaged in contract manufacturing of sweets and chocolates for a variety of national and international brands such as Mondelez, Nestle, Parle, Unilever, among others.

Gujarat has been pushing aggressively to develop an aerospace and aviation industry in Gujarat. The state government is also exploring the feasibility of establishing a special economic zone (EEZ) dedicated to the aviation sector.