India turns exporter of fuel for small planes, enters $3bn global market

NEW DELHI: Amid an impending western ban on fuel from Russia, India on Saturday turned from a net importer to an exporter of aviation gasoline – also called AV Gas – that powers unmanned aerial vehicles and piston engine aircraft used by flying schools. State-run IndianOil exported the first consignment of 80 barrels of AV Gas to Papua New Guinea from Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port, marking its entry in an estimated $2.7 billion global market.
“The indigenous production of AVGAS 100 LL in India will not only help save foreign exchange spent on imports but will make training in domestic flying institutes economical for budding pilots,” company chairman S M Vaidya said.
Domestic manufacturing of the fuel will also have military implication by reducing operating costs of UAVs that are increasingly being deployed as force multipliers. There is a significant demand for the fuel in countries in South America, Asia Pacific, West Asia, Africa and Europe. IndianOil aims to tap into this market after addressing domestic demand. It is the only domestic manufacturer of the fuel, having started production in September last year. Until recently AV Gas was imported at a huge cost from European countries.
“The global aviation gasoline market is projected to grow at 5% CAGR (compounded annual growth rate). The Aviation traffic in India is also likely to grow by 7%. With the superior performance quality standards and competitive prices, IndianOil is aiming to secure significant market share,” Vaidya said. AV Gas is currently being produced at the firm’s refinery in Gujarat, which has an annual capacity to pump out 5,000 tonnes of the fuel per month, the company said.