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MARCH 11, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

The centre is looking at removing the distinction between FDI and FII investments. This will impact sectors like asset reconstruction, real estate and aviation, where separate ceilings apply to FDI and FII investment. However, allowing FDI through the FII route in the realty sector could result in prices shooting through the roof. The Asian financial crisis of the '90s is still fresh in mind, and a method should be devised to moderate possible volatility in key sectors.

S&P And After
For the first time in 14 years, international credit rating agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P), has raised India's credit rating to investment grade. S&P is the last of the three major international rating agencies to do so. Moody's Investors Service did it in January 2004 and Fitch Ratings in August 2006. The upgrade is likely to spur the flow of foreign investment into power, steel and other industries, which receive less than a tenth of the funds going China's way.
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Business Today,  February 25, 2007

Wings For The Hotshot
Shivangi Misra goes for a joyride over Delhi in a Raytheon Hawker 850 corporate jet. This is her first person account of the experience.


Passenger Capacity: 6
Maximum Payload: 1,864 kg
Top Speed: 835 kmph
Altitude: 41,000 ft
Range: 2,771 km
Fuel cost per hour: $1,400
Price: $ 6 million
For more details contact:

I had a short tryst with luxury 25,000 feet above Delhi! Wood, cream and mahogany interiors, plush, leather seats, a hint of gold on the security belt, touch- screen controls for PowerPoint presentations during business meetings, and music for leisure... the new executive Hawker 850 jet launched by the Raytheon Aircraft Company has all of that and more. If the Lord of Tartary (he with the ivory bed and beaten gold throne) were for real, he would surely want one of these.

I'm letting my imagination run riot, but there's plenty of time for that. It's 9 a.m. on a chilly winter morning and I've (actually, there are others, too; but more on that later) been sitting in the airport for an hour, waiting for clearance to take off. The idle, and random, thoughts take my mind away from how painful it is to get up at 6 a.m. to go for an assignment that I wasn't even supposed to go on till late the previous evening. But what the hell. I'm about to go on a joyride, or rather, a joy flight, if you'll pardon the coinage, over Delhi in a corporate jet-and get a glimpse of how the other half live-so I'm determined not to let anything dampen my spirits; not even the hour-long wait.

I have seen these little "toy" planes parked at the airport several times, but flying in one is already proving to be a different experience altogether. The eight-seater twin-engine Hawker 850xp is such a bundle of surprises. I find myself a seat by the window and tie the belt for take off. There is none of those usual safety measure announcements before taking off, the seat belts are dripping luxury and the cockpit is in the direct line of my sight!

I look around. My co-passengers, mostly other journos like myself, are a happy group of people, evidently excited at the thought of what lies in store. Armed with boarding passes (yes, you need them for private planes as well if you're using the airport runway), it seems we are headed to some place else. After what seems an interminable wait, we board the plane.


Passenger Capacity: 8
Maximum Payload: 5,348 kg
Top Speed: 863 kmph
Altitude: 41,000 ft
Range: 5,056 km
Fuel cost per hour: $1,400
Price: $14 million
For more details contact:

The engine roars to life, and we are soon airborne. Considering the size of the aircraft, one would imagine that it would need a lot more power to take off, but surprisingly, the flight is quite smooth without any glitches. The take off is exactly like it is in a commercial plane, only a little quieter.

There is a host of amenities inside the aircraft, including a Collins Airshow 21 cabin management screen system that gives location details to passengers in the form of a nifty map. The cabin configuration reminds me of a cosy, if narrow, waiting room. Like regular commercial planes, there's a small console above each seat with a reading light and an a/c vent.

The washroom is tucked away at the rear end of the plane, and there is ample storage space for hanging jackets and coats. There's even a little microwave, a sideboard full of white China and a draw-out fridge to store soft drinks in. Oh, why did I look that way? That microwave reminds me, by association, of pepperoni pizzas! I suddenly realise I have been rather quiet all this while, trying to absorb what I can of my surroundings (vast when I look out of the window, less so otherwise) but my peers from other media houses are more than making up for my reluctance to use my vocal cords. And since my hosts aren't likely to offer me a pizza, there's no point thinking about it anyway.

My colleague in office who covers aviation (and who I am filling in for) had briefed me on some technical aspects of planes and had even, helpfully, provided me with a small list of intelligent questions to ask. So, taking advantage of a pause in the general conversation around me, I seize the moment and let rip. Turning to Sean McGeough, Vice President, International Sales at Raytheon, I shoot off my first question; then the next; and then again... At the end, I ease myself back on my seat with a rather satisfied grin. "Think I pulled that off rather well," I tell myself and stretch forward. The legroom is tremendous. Travelling as I do in the cramped economy and low- cost flights, I had always wondered what it would be like to stretch out your feet while flying. Now I know; and I rather like the experience.

The Hawker 850: Add a personal touch to those boring business meetings by flying in a private corporate jet.

We are now 20,000 feet above ground and flying over Delhi. The plane banks sharply to the left and I almost fall off my chair. I've never been scared of flying; in fact, I love it when the plane picks up speed just before take-off, but this is the smallest plane I've flown in, and every time it turns, the movements seems so much more obvious and distinct.

It's now time to return to terra firma. The pilot begins to descend and the familiar Delhi airport comes into view. The landing is a little rough and the plane wobbles a bit. But that's a minor hitch in an otherwise wonderful experience. Wouldn't it be nice to own one of these things? I could just fly off to Singapore or Dubai, raid the shops and come back with a jet full of goodies? There I go again... the Lord of Tartary syndrome, I think, as I head off into the airport terminal in search of pepperoni pizza, which, sadly, I do not find.

The Hawker 850: Add a personal touch to those boring business meetings by flying in a private corporate jet.