The Government of India has decided to move forward with the 13th edition of Aero India which is scheduled from 3 to 5 February 2021 at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru. Despite Covid-19 fear hovering over, the government has decided to organise this event with strict guidelines and stringent rules. With lesser participants participating in the event, the length of the show has been reduced from a five-day event to a three-day show, there will be no public days now. Apart from that, all the participants have to take Covid-19-19RT-PCR test and obtain the report which should be less than 72 hours of their scheduled entry time at Aero India venue. Following that, they have to also upload this report on the official website of Aero India 2021 and then have to acquire a clearance certificate from the organisers.
During the show, IAF will be showcasing its full strength consisting of ALH Dhruv, ALH Mk III Military, Do-228, Hansa, Hawk-i, HTT-40, Rafales, C-130 J Hercules, Chinooks, Apaches, Su-30MKIs etc. Owing to the international travel restrictions, many international companies have decided not to be a part of this event but as per the official website, there will be almost 541 exhibitors with 463 Indian and 78 foreigners showcasing their products. For the first time, Surya Kiran jets and Sarang helicopters will perform a combined display of aerobatics. Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), which lost one of its pilots after two jets collided during a practice sortie’s last edition, will be back with a boom.
In the last edition, the show also saw a massive fire mishap in the parking area which lead to massive destruction and played a huge spoilsport. Lessons learnt from the past experience has made the organisers to go for a complete overhaul in the parking area with making it a ‘no grass zone’ and deploying massive fire extinguishers on every nook and corner of the parking area. Apart from that, fire spotters and hall managers will be deputed in all five hangars, while two IAF helicopters with Bambi buckets will be on standby.
Besides IAF, the Ministry of Defence, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the state departments linked to fire and emergency services, police and health will be part of the event. As part of the drills, the forces will respond to bomb hoax, fire in hangar/parking areas, air crash, stampede and drone attacks.
In an investigative report submitted by the Yelahanka Police department to the Karnataka High Court, it stated that the fire broke out because the overheated car engines came in contact with dry grass and that ignited the entire area.