Aero India – Asia’s largest military aviation exhibition – will be held in Bengaluru in February next year, the government said today. The announcement comes weeks after controversy over reports that the prestigious air show hosted by Bengaluru for over two decades might be shifted out of the city.
“The Government has decided to hold the Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru from 20 – 24 February 2019. This five-day event will combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries with public air shows,” a government release statement said.
The Karnataka government had stepped up pressure on the centre to conduct Aero India 2019 edition in Bengaluru itself. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had written to Prime Miister Narendra Modi insisting that the city would be the “best choice” for the event.
There was speculation that the event, organised by the Defence Ministry, would be held in Lucknow where the centre is building a huge defence corridor. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hold the event in his state. But the defence minister had made it clear that no announcement had been made, but added that “people in many places are asking for that (the show).”
The Defence Ministry also received requests from others states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu to host the next Aero India.
The Karnataka Congress wrote to Ms Sitaraman, telling her that as a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, she had to protect the interests of the state and ensure that Aero India was retained in Bengaluru.
Since its inception in 1996, Bengaluru has been hosting the air show.