As Asian Air Travel Soars, Pilots Are Scarce

October 16, 2010

Asia’s economies are booming, and so is demand for air travel across the region. Flying for business and pleasure is increasingly affordable for the combined 1.1 billion middle-class residents of China and India. All those potential fliers have translated into new orders for aircraft makers—Asia-Pacific airlines will buy about 8,000 planes worth $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years, according to Airbus. Less noticed is another group of beneficiaries: Asian pilots. The International Civil Aviation Organization forecasts that airlines worldwide will need an average of 49,900 new pilots a year from 2010 to 2030 as fleets expand, yet current annual training capacity is only 47,025. The shortage is likely to be acute in Asia as three big carriers trying to capitalize on the region’s rising prosperity, Cathay Pacific Airways, Qantas Airways, and Emirates Airline, await deliveries of about 400 planes. That’s already sparking bidding wars for cockpit crews, with Emirates offering tax-free salaries and four-bedroom villas for captains and AirAsia, the region’s biggest budget airline, providing tuition-free training for airmen willing to join its ranks.

“It’s a major issue and will be a big challenge to the industry’s growth,” says Binit Somaia, a Sydney-based analyst for the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). “Even if you can find the pilots, you have to pay top dollar for them because they are so scarce.”

This year the Asia-Pacific region’s carriers ordered 133 commercial jets with more than 100 seats each, or 23 percent of new orders globally, according to aviation forecaster Ascend Worldwide. With the economies of China and India expected to grow at more than double the global rate in the next few years, Asian carriers are likely to continue expanding. One result: “There will be a shortage of pilots, and this is going to last for a while because it takes time to produce a good pilot,” says the president of the Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines, Elmer Pena. In July and August, Philippine Airlines canceled flights and rebooked passengers after losing 27 pilots to higher-paying jobs abroad.

The expected pilot shortage, plus hiring by a new crop of regional budget carriers, could push wages higher. Basic pay for Singapore Air captains flying twin-aisle Boeing 777s or Airbus A330s begins at 9,300 Singapore dollars ($7,138) a month, excluding allowances, says P. James, president of the Air Line Pilots Association of Singapore. Pilots also earn a productivity allowance of as much as $2,917 for flying 70 hours a month.

Emirates offers a starting monthly salary of 34,410 dirhams ($9,368) for captains. That excludes benefits such as hourly flying and productivity payments. Its other perks include a tax-free basic salary, profit sharing, villas for captains, and free dry cleaning of uniforms. 14/10/10 Chan Sue Ling/ Business Week

Singapore Airlines hiring Indian cabin crew

September 27, 2010

Kolkata: Singapore Airlines is hiring cabin crew of Indian origin. It plans to have at least 2-3 Indians on each flight flying from or to India. “Yes we are hiring cabin crew and staff with Indian origin. All I can say at this point of time is that the idea is to have at least two to three Indian cabin crew,” CW Foo, Singapore Airlines general manager for India, told Financial Chronicle. Singapore Airlines is also keen on more landing rights in the country. 26/09/10 Ritwik Mukherjee/

A thousand career dreams take wing at aeronautics show

September 27, 2010

Bangalore: At a time when National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore is taking special measures to attract young people into its fold, about 3,000 youths sprang a surprise on the institute by evincing interest in career prospects in aeronautics here on Sunday. Youngsters from schools and colleges came in hordes to the day-long technological exhibition organised by NAL, the high technology oriented institution concentrating on advanced research in aeronautics and related disciplines.

The exhibition was organised as part of the Foundation Day celebrations of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The event was hosted at NAL’s Belur Campus.
A special desk was set up at the exhibition centre to address the queries from students.
“Currently, NAL is looking for bright and highly motivated technical staff to participate in the exciting tasks of aerospace R&D, technology development and related applications. We also groom young people to be part of our fraternity,” said an official of NAL. In addition to many research, development and technology programmes in aerospace, NAL is actively involved in supporting the National Aerospace Programmes of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Indian Air Force (IAF). Moreover, NAL has a strong programme in civil aviation, including the nationally-important project of design and development of the multi-role light transport aircraft, Saras.

“Thus we require many committed people to be part of our various programmes,” said NAL’s director. 27/09/10 Maitreyee Boruah/ Daily News & Analysis

Jet to train Air India Express’ new crew

October 21, 2010

New Delhi: In the five months following the horrific Mangalore crash that left 160 people, including six crew, dead, Air India Express is witnessing a virtual exodus of its cabin crew. Nearly 50 airhostesses and flight stewards have quit since then, citing poor working conditions. Now the international budget airline is facing such a staff crunch that it is planning to get new recruits trained by its main competitor – Jet Airways. Reason: State-run AI’s own training process, where this job could be done at no extra cost, takes four to six months whereas Jet has told the Maharaja’s poor cousin that it will do the same in 25 working days for a fee. For its current fleet of 21 aircraft AI Express requires 440 cabin crew members and the airline has taken crew on contract since inception. The number has fallen in past five months and today there’s a shortage of 79 staffers . As a result, the airline barely manages to utilise 17 planes optimally. Jet was shortlisted as it’s a DGCA-certified type rated training organisation for Boeing 737, the aircraft AI Express uses. 21/10/10 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Maha gets eco clearance for Shirdi airport

October 21, 2010

MUMBAI: Shirdi will soon get its first airport after Union environment ministry recently cleared the project. The airport will be 13km from the temple town.

Presently, devotees from across India spend hours to reach Shirdi by road and train. This is Maharashtra’s first major eco-clearance — several projects like Navi Mumbai airport and Worli-Haji Ali sea link are still awaiting the green nod.

Maharashtra Airport Development Company Ltd GM Ramesh Yaool said, ”The experts appraisal committee of MoEF lauded our presentation on the airport, suggested certain changes and announced clearance to the project immediately.”

Read more: Maha gets eco clearance for Shirdi airport – The Times of India

Airlines face pilot shortage, industry short of 300 pilots now

September 18, 2010

New Delhi: The country’s airlines have drawn up ambitious expansion plans against a brightening backdrop, but are confronted with a severe shortage of experienced pilots. Industry estimates peg the shortage at 300 at present, but the number will swell to nearly 700 once a government order that bars expat pilots takes effect from next July.

A beefed-up fleet size is certain to amplify the shortage. The number of aircraft operated by low-cost carriers such as IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir is estimated to more than double to 130 in five years. Full-service players such as Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher Airlines that together operate nearly 350 aircraft, too, are expanding. Jet, the country’s biggest private airline, plans to increase capacity by 15% this year. Air India has ordered 28 Dreamliners due for next September.

For the aviation sector, 700 is a weighty number given that an airline requires 10 pilots per aircraft. Whether the government enforces its deadline remains to be seen, the way out for airlines is to increase hiring. Indeed, there is a huge pool of trainee pilots to fill vacancies. But hiring in the aviation sector is different from any other in that only those who have had at least four years of flying experience can become captains. In India, there has always been a dearth of pilots at this level. The influx of expats into the Indian aviation scene was spawned by this shortage. The problem has been accentuated by a dearth of commanders and veterans who can train the recruits. Hiring and training in this category took a backseat during the slowdown and that is hurting airlines now. 18/09/10 Anindya Upadhyay/ Economic Times

Airlines’ recruitment takes off again

September 12, 2010

Mumbai: Turnaround in the aviation industry has led to a fresh round of recruitment under various categories. For instance, Air India Express, the low-cost arm of flag carrier Air India, recently conducted interviews in Kochi for airline attendants. Similarly, private carriers Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways too are in the process of hiring talents under various categories to cater to the growth in air traffic.

An Air India spokesperson said, “We recruit staff as and when required. We have just finished the recruitment process for airline attendants at Kochi.” The airline has 69 posts vacant in the category. Air India also has to fill up posts for B777-type rated captains and first officers on a contractual basis for five years, for which advertisements are open till January 2011 or until the vacancies are filled up.

Kingfisher Airlines, which is increasing presence in international skies, is looking for marketing and sales professionals to enhance business. The airline, on its website, sought applications for executives in the UK, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and UAE, where it has just started operations. The most perceptible signs of change in trend came last month when Jet Airways started calling up flight attendants it had retrenched in 2008 amid protests. The airline has started calling the retrenched staff with fresh offers. Wadia-Group promoted GoAir’s CEO Kaushik Khona said, “We have recruited 25 cabin crew staff and 15 professionals in the sales and marketing team to match growth in the airline’s network.” 11/09/10 Shaheen Mansuri/ Financial Express

AAI hires former traffic controllers to meet shortage

October 21, 2010

New Delhi: A worrying shortage of air traffic controllers continues to grip Airports Authority of India (AAI). At present, there is a difference of about 250 between the sanctioned strength and the actual strength. Among the 1,900 ATCOs, about 25 are retired controllers while another 200-300 are trainees. Speaking at the inauguration of a two-day seminar to mark the international day for air traffic controllers in Delhi, minister for civil aviation Praful Patel on Wednesday said that he had to intervene and ask AAI to recruit retired controllers.

Sources said a reassessment of the required strength was also required. “At present, the sanctioned strength is 2,150 whereas the actual strength is 1,900. However, this number was fixed several years back after which scope of work and area has drastically changed,” said an official. 21/10/10 Times of India

Jet Air welcomes ex-employees back on board; 200 accept offer

September 7, 2010

New Delhi: In what signals a revival of the domestic airline sector, the country’s largest private carrier Jet Airways has asked hundreds of its former employees to re-join the carrier. Nearly 200 cabin staff who had left the company during the slowdown in the industry have already accepted the airline’s offer. Jet Airways is seeking to expand its fleet as well as its network.

“We have contacted 400 people (who left the company since October 2008) and out of them, nearly 200 have re-joined us,” Jet Airways chief commercial officer Sudheer Raghavan told FE. The total staff strength of Jet Airways has come down from 13,500 in October 2008 to 11,500 in June 2010. About 2,000 ground and cabin staff had earlier put in their papers citing lack of advancement in their careers. The airline had resorted to fleet reduction and route rationalisation amid slackening demand for air travel.

Jet Airways had, in October 2008, handed out pink slips to nearly 1,900 staff, but had taken back all of them within two days after an agitation by the sacked employees and pressure from trade unions and the Shiv Sena, the Maharashtra-centered political outfit.

Most domestic airlines have now resumed hiring as they start expanding their operations to cater to the growing demand. Local air traffic has registered double-digit growth since June 2009 owing to the strong economy and an improved market sentiment. 07/09/10 Nirbhay Kumar/Financial Express

Pilot Hiring News In India Is Mostly Positive

August 27, 2010

Ormond Beach, Florida: In a big turnaround from the past couple of years, almost all the news about pilot hiring in India in 2010 has been positive at least if you are an Indian citizen. With several thousand Indian pilots having trained to be commercial pilots over the past several years and waiting for those jobs, this is very welcome news. Here is a list of some of the positive news in India regarding airline and other pilot hiring so far in 2010:

  • Boeing India increased their estimate of airline purchases in India by more than 10% for the next 20 year period. Their forecast for airline growth implies that nearly 1000 pilots will be needed over that period each year to meet just the demand created by the expansion. Currently there are less than 400 airliners in India so this growth is huge. They estimate the purchases for new airliners will be 1150 aircraft over that period.
  • Spice Jet has recently placed an order for 30 more B737s. This order will be added to the 7 additional aircraft already scheduled for delivery over the next 2 years. These orders alone mean that Spice jet will need 500 more pilots in the near term.
  • Low Cost Carriers (of which Spice Jet is one – others include IndiGo and GoAir) are forecasted to nearly double their fleet size in less than 2 years. By adding 50 more aircraft, this market segment will require at least 700 more pilots over that period. IndiGo alone has announced that they will hire more than 100 pilots this year.
  • By July 2011, the airlines in India must remove all the expat pilots. This will open 400 slots for Indian pilots. This will happen just as you finish your DGCA exams!
  • Kingfisher Airlines announced this month (August) that they have an immediate need for pilots.
    The Indian Coast Guard is expanding and needs pilots.
  • et Airways has recently recalled furloughed employees. Hiring for pilots there is expected to resume soon.
  • Air India and Air India Express both announced this year that they are hiring pilots.
  • All the airlines in India appear to be hiring this year in contrast to the past several years.
  • India only has 90 airports. Most projections indicate a need to increase that number to 400 to meet the needs of the citizens. Many people believe that the Boeing and Airbus predictions for growth are conservative. All the major airports are involved in large expansion plans. 26/08/10 Press Release/PRLog

In pursuit of the Ultimate high

August 22, 2010

India may not have flying communities like Florida’s Spruce Creek-where roads are taxiways, homes have aircraft hangars and windows open to neighbourhood runways-but change is in the air, as those who can afford flying school are lining up to earn their Private Pilot Licences (PPL). Over the last few years, industrialists, lawyers, engineers, et al, have been descending onto those lazy runways in small towns.

One of the latest entrants is 60-year-old entrepreneur, Hitesh Mehta, who has returned to an old love after a gap of more than 40 years. His passion for planes began as a college boy in Kolkata. “After getting off at the village bus stop early in the morning, I would walk 5-6 km through rural terrain, all the while keeping a sharp eye out for snakes. Reaching the flying club did not guarantee you the chance to fly that day as the school had only three aircraft and many students,” recalls Mehta, who did 40 hours on a Pushpak in 1967-68 before opting for a career change. Airline jobs were hard to come by in those days. Mehta has rediscovered his love for flying, this time on a Cessna 152.

Hobby flyers in Mumbai prefer to go to small towns where the air space is less congested. To meet the growing demands, the number of flying training planes in India has doubled over the last five years. Capt Yashraj Tongia, chief flying instructor, Yash Air, the school where Mehta has enrolled, says: “The country’s industry currently has about 180 flying training aircraft. So now there are opportunities galore for those who wish to fulfil their dreams of flying.” He added that in about 20 days one can complete the 40 hours of training needed for a PPL. ” Actor Sohail Khan did his first solo flight five days after starting flying training.”

While it is not known how many Indians are taking to the skies, instructors give a conservative estimate of 30 to 40. “I got a student pilot licence when I was 17, even before I got a driving licence,” says Mathur, an Indore-based civil engineering student. “I leave home at 4.30 am, go to Ujjain, and take-off by 5.45 am. You have to see a sunrise from a cockpit to behold it in all its beauty,” he says.

But getting a licence is cumbersome. “The DGCA should put up information on hobby flying on its website,” says Pratik Agarwal, an industrialist in Worli. There are plenty of hurdles even for pilots like Agarwal who earned their licence abroad. Agarwal got his PPL from the UK, but converting his license to an Indian one-mandatory for hobby flying in India-was not task. Entrepreneur Madhav Goel, who did his flying in the US agrees. “It took me a year to convert my PPL,” he says adding that he dreams of flying over Mumbai’s skies. 22/08/10 Manju V/Times of India

Demand for pilots in the near future will increase and the requirements will be raised: Baltic Aviation Academy

October 15, 2010

The aviation business world intensely discusses that the economic recession, which caused the stagnation of the aviation, is over, and now the attention is drawn to the rapidly growing need for pilots and rising requirements for pilot qualification.

The Head of Lithuanian pilot training academy Baltic Aviation Academy FTO (initial pilot training school) Indre Sveistryte states that world aviation professionals are nowadays working on two issues – shortage of pilots and their qualification.

“The rapid pace of life and closer business and social ties among the countries in the world stimulate a very intense development of the aviation – more and more often people choose airplanes as their means of transportation. Due to that the aviation business worldwide is expanding. At the same time, it also creates new challenges: companies purchase more airplanes, but feel a shortage of pilots. In addition, the qualification of existing pilots should meet new, much higher requirements, because the world in the XXI century has changed and encourages aviation to pay much more attention to flight safety,” said Indra Sveistryte while describing the modern trends.

At this time, aviation training experts examine new requirements for the training programs and educational institutions, and discuss the criteria for the training airplanes, pilot selection and assessment.

“Poland for example, estimates that over the next 10 years the country will need about 2000 new pilots, and in addition, there might be a shortage of other aviation specialists, because its aviation market is expanding. Similar trends are seen in other countries. As we expand our activities and accept new training groups of pilots who raise their qualification, we notice that both the Eastern and Western European airlines experience a shortage of pilots, while expanding their fleet and switching to the new types of aircraft. This encourages us to implement such training programs, which would meet the needs of the airlines,” said the representative of Baltic Aviation Academy.

According to her, Baltic Aviation Academy has started a new training program this year – initial pilot training. After completing this study program, the graduates will become professional pilots, and they will be awarded a license valid in all of the EU countries.

In addition, the representative of Baltic Aviation Academy drew attention to the newly emerging requirements to the future pilots and pilots who change their qualification.

“Noticeably more attention is paid to the personal qualities of the pilots, not only to their age, physical condition and knowledge. In the XXI century, when aviation is in the center of attention, aircraft pilots must comply with certain personal requirements that affect a pilot’s job. More and more attention is drawn to the behavioral and human values, and the way of thinking, because that is what determines a pilot’s behavior and affects decisions at the critical moments. In modern aviation simply knowing how to fly the aircraft is not enough, the most important thing is to operate the aircraft and work smoothly as a part of a team,” states Indre Sveistryte.

According to her, Baltic Aviation Academy takes into account the essential changes of the aviation market and future requirements while creating the training programs.

Over 2,000 professionals per year benefit from the training offered by Baltic Aviation Academy, during which more than 10,000 hours of flight simulators are held. This year the number of pilots studying at Baltic Aviation Academy during the period of 9 months has increased 4 times as compared to this period last year.

Baltic Aviation Academy, UAB which is part of the Lithuanian aviation company group Avia Solutions Group, provides aircraft crew training and aircraft crew formation solutions to the aviation companies. Pilot qualification trainings for Boeing 737-CL, Boeing 737-NG, Boeing 757, Saab 340, ATR-42, ATR-72, Airbus 320, Embraer 135/145 and CRJ 100/200 airplanes are held at the pilot and flight steward training center in Vilnius. This year they have launched the initial pilot training program (FTO). Course completion certificates issued by Baltic Aviation Academy are valid in the European Union, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine. 14/10/10 PRESS RELEASE/Baltic Aviation Academy

Asia would need 180,600 pilots and 220,000 maintenance crew in next 20 years

October 6, 2010

The United States plane maker Boeing reports that the global commercial aviation industry needs more than a million pilots and maintenance crew in the next 20 years, with Asia accounting for almost 40% of the demand. It estimates world demand at 466,650 pilots and 596,500 maintenance personnel from 2010 to 2029, of whom 180,600 pilots and 220,000 mechanics would be needed in Asia.

Aviation is an exciting and rewarding industry for those who aspire to be an airline pilot or an aircraft engineer. Both courses require a lot of discipline, hard work and passion.

Most countries, including Malaysia, Australia, India, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, and Thailand, are members of nternational Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Member countries recognise one another’s licence. However, if one plans on working in another member country, he will need to convert his licence to a local licence. In most cases, one is required to pass the local aviation medical, local conversion exam or abridged course and flight test Entry requirements for piloting and aircraft engineering may vary. For Malaysian students, they have to be at least 17 years, have completed SPM or ‘O’ Levels or UEC SML with five credits in English, Mathematics, and any science subjects, have adequate English Language competency or IELTS score of a minimum of 5.5, a pass in the Class One Medical Examination by approved Designated Aviation Medical Practitioner (pilot students only) and have a valid international passport.

Student pilot will progress through different stages. At each of the six stages, there is a practical flight training and test, and ground theory followed by exams.

Stage 1: Student Pilot Licence (SPL) – Basic entry requirements, pass class 1 medical, security clearance; Stage 2: Private Pilot Licence (PPL) – 40-50 hours flying, theory subjects – navigation, flight rules, meteorology, human factors in flight and aircraft general knowledge. PPL is for private flying only;

Stage 3: Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) – 150-165 hours flying, minimum 100 hours solo flight time, VFR (Visual Flying Rules). Exams subjects – navigation, flight rules, aircraft general knowledge, aircraft performance, aerodynamic, human factors in flight and meteorology. All flying through to CPL flight test is in a single engine aircraft – Cessna 152, Cessna 172 and is under VFR;

Stage 4: Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR). After completing the CPL, one is given 15-25 hours on multi-engine with flight simulator training and endorsements to fly twin-engine aircraft, and also to read the instruments in the flight deck for IFR (Instrument Flying Rules) flying. CPL holders have to pass a theory exam IREX;

Stage 5: Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). Some airlines also require students to complete an ATPL theory and students are given a frozen ATPL licence that can be activated only with at least 1,500 hours of flight time;

Stage 6: Airlines. After completing CPL/MECIR, students can apply for jobs with airlines. The airlines will further train the student on aircraft type rating, simulator and on the job training. 05/10/10 Sun2Surf, Malaysia.

Coast Guard recruiting commercial pilots

July 28, 2010

Chennai: In a move to strengthen coastline security of the nation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is on an aircraft purchase spree. The force is also recruiting commercial pilots on a short-term contract basis to fly its helicopters and planes.

Coast Guard will get 12 Dornier planes, three single-engine helicopters and a few twin-engine helicopters. It has also placed orders for a few multi-machine aircraft which can fly for more than 10 hours non-stop.

At present, Coast Guard has 17 Chetak helicopters, 24 Dorniers and 3 advanced light helicopters. In Chennai, there are four Dornier aircraft and three Chetak helicopters.

Coast Guard has started recruiting commercial pilot licence- holders holders to fly its aircraft on a short-term contract basis. Earlier, Coast Guard used to induct them for permanent posts. “The recruited pilots undergo one year training programme which comprises flying lessons in Daman and also in the Naval academy. “These pilots, who would have handled single-engine aircraft, will be trained in flying our multi-engine planes and big helicopters. They will also be given lessons in firing, pollution handling, and search-and-rescue operations,” said a source. 23/07/10 Vivek Narayanan/Times of India

Head for the sky

July 11, 2010

A plethora of career avenues is open in aviation, the most glamorous of which is being a pilot. Apart from piloting, there are many functions required to keep a plane safe in the air and bring it to land.

The second most attractive is the position of cabin crew, which includes air hostesses, stewards, pursers and flight attendants. Other equally important jobs are based on the ground. Some positions include air traffic controller, aeronautical engineer, engine and airframe technician, electrical technician, airfield safety operator and refuelling operator. These posts are vital in keeping the aircraft airworthy.

Airports are the nerve centres of aircraft activity. They serve the airlines as well as the passengers. International airports are mammoth structures with over a 100 aircraft terminals, hotels, underground metro stations, shopping malls, parking space, hangars, maintenance areas, baggage handling areas, cargo bays, restaurants and arrival and departure lounges. Today, security is paramount in airports.

Such airports need tremendous manpower to be working 24×7. The Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, has around 3,000 staff on its rolls and 1,500 personnel from security and government agencies. Thus, there is plenty of scope for a variety of roles at the airports, where career openings include airport manager, fixed base operator manager, scheduling coordinator, catering manager, flight dispatcher, baggage handler, cargo handler and skycap. Joining the flying brigade.

The safety of the plane and its passengers is always the pilot’s responsibility. So, the pilot must be prepared for any emergency. Aspiring pilots need to pass 10+2 with maths, physics and chemistry and go through a rigorous training schedule and pass examinations to get certifications from the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA).

To fly commercial aircraft, one has to have a commercial pilot licence (CPL). A holder of a student pilot licence (SPL) can move directly to CPL. The minimum age for an SPL is 16 years and CPL is 18 years. For private pilot licence, one must be at least 17 years. There are several DGCA-approved flying academies where one can do a CPL course. It may cost anything up to Rs 25 lakh and may last two years. One has to log in a minimum of 250 hours of solo flying and cross country to get a CPL.

Aspirants must also pass stringent medical fitness tests conducted by the IAF Central Medical Establishment, Delhi. After getting a CPL, one has to fly at least 1,500 hours on different aircraft and become familiar with instrument ratings to get the airline transport pilot licence (ATPL). Many aspirants try to get the licence faster by joining schools abroad. But, before parting with huge sums of money, verify the claims made by such schools. Life is hard for pilots at entry level. They may have to join small companies and settle for salary as low as Rs 25,000, but, as they gather experience, it gets better. In about three years, one can aspire for a job in a top airline with a good pay and perks.

Air hostess and flight purser posts need 10+2, and sometimes, a one-year diploma certificate. Major cities have training academies where professional training for these posts is imparted. Many airlines have their own training schools, where admission is through tests. After the course, students are sometimes absorbed by the airline.

Course fees depend on the reputation of the academy and the placement opportunities offered. Along with the minimum qualification, one needs superior interpersonal skills, a pleasing personality, fluency in English and knowledge of at least two other languages, either Indian or foreign. A service-oriented mindset will be an added feather in the cap.

The ground gang
Ground jobs are neither less exciting nor less paying than the in-flight jobs. Everywhere in the airport, be it in the lounges or on the runway, a great deal of technology is involved. Engineers from different branches are required to maintain the facilities. Candidates with engineering degrees, right from mechanical to electronics, computer science and IT are needed to fit in the different job profiles.

The malls, restaurants and the car rental companies look for candidates with qualifications in travel, tourism and retail sales. Jobs range from store manager to store executive or sales assistant. The security systems must be working at all times to ensure safety of the infrastructure and the people. Security experts are required in different capacities right from systems monitoring to guards.

Careers in this industry are highly rewarding and there is a real dearth of talent. Those who can demonstrate qualities like efficiency, spirit of perfection, time management skills and, above all, the ability to be flexible when needed, have the edge.
The aviation industry offers some of the best perks, facilities and growth possibilities compared to the same roles in other industries. It also provides the chance to work in other countries early in one’s career.
Look at the benefits, weigh your chances and then, get ready to take off.
11/07/10 K.V. Rajasekher/The Week

Airlines on hiring spree after 2 rough years

July 10, 2010

Mumbai: The aviation job market is booming. Job advertisements are flying thick and fast in the industry. Pilots, cabin crew, ground staff are back in demand.

Hirings began slowly in February after two years of slowdown and job losses. Now, it has gained full speed. Consider this:

  • Air India has advertised for 40 pilots
  • Its low-cost arm, Air India Express, for 63 cabin crew posts
  • Spice Jet needs 30 pilots and about 75 cabin crew
  • Indigo needs 70 pilots and about 175 cabin crew
  • Go-Air, that has recently inducted 21 pilots, will hire 10 more and about 74 cabin crew members
  • Jet Airways and Kingfisher are hiring staff across the spectrum
  • By considering to allow foreign airlines to invest in local carriers, the government has sent out a strong signal of support to the aviation industry. 09/07/10

    Airbus to tap engineering talent in India

    October 2, 2010

    The world’s largest aircraft maker, Airbus, expects that the Indian aviation market will require more than 1,000 aircraft worth $138 billion in the next 20 years. In conversation with ET, CEO Tom Enders said the European aviation major will expand the India engineering centre and subcontract more work to Indian firms such as Mahindra, and Wipro

    Excerpts from the interview
    What role are India and China going to play in the global aviation industry? First of all, for us India and China, obviously, are huge markets in the future. And I believe we have seen nothing yet. These markets are still in their initial phase. To give you an idea, US had 750 million passengers last year and it has a population of 300 million. India had 120 million passengers and India has a population four times as large as US. To cite an example, in India in one day on the trains, you have the aviation population for almost an entire year. These are early stages. There is more than 16% increase in air traffic in India in 2009-2010, very similar to China.

    But that is not all. We clearly see that all the bright engineers in future will not just sit in Europe, where Airbus has its main activities, but we are looking for the best and the brightest all over the world and certainly here in India. And the experience we have with these engineering centres here in India is very encouraging. We started in 2007, we were just 25 people, we are now 180, we intent to ramp it up in the next three years to at least 400 and that would necessarily not be the end point. So it is not only the sales activity, but also tapping into the pool of the best and the brightest engineering talent in India and elsewhere. And obviously we have subcontracting going on here in India, this will also increase. 02/10/10 Peerzada Abrar/ Economic Times

    Emirates to recruit 3,000 cabin crew members and 700 pilots

    June 24, 2010
    Dubai: The UAE national carrier Emirates airline will place orders for more planes at the Farnborough Air Show in July to meet the fast growing travel demand, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has told a leading television channel.

    The planned new order will come close on the heels of one of the largest civil aircraft orders in history — an $11.5 billion order for 32 more Airbus A380 planes — placed by the airline early this month. Last week, the airline said it was on a hiring binge with plans to bring on 3,000 cabin crew members and 700 pilots worldwide over the next 18 months to cope with its fleet expansion.

    In an interview with CNN, Shaikh Mohammed said Dubai Airport’s continued expansion, in addition to large growth in passenger numbers and tourism, prompt the national airline to invest in more airplanes to keep pace with developments. Earlier this month, Emirates placed an order for 32 more Airbus A380 planes on top of the 58 it had previously requested. With the new order, Emirates will reinforce its position as the largest operator of the superjumbo with 90 A380s. 24/06/10 Issac John/Khaleej Times

    Indians form more than half of Qatar Airways recruits: CEO

    April 14, 2010

    Bangalore: Indians accounted for more than half of the recruitments, including global positions, made by Qatar Airways, its Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

    “Currently, we are recruiting people from three Indian destinations and these include those for global positions”, he told reporters here adding “India has a vast reservoir of talent and we are keen on tapping it”. Outlining the Indian market for the airways, he said the launch of its latest daily service to Bangalore was proving to be one of its most successful start-up routes.

    Qatar Airways currently operates 74 flights a week spread across 11 Indian cities, including daily flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Goa, Kozhikhode and Amritsar.

    “Our Doha-Goa flights increased to daily only last week and we plan to step up capacity on the Amritsar route to daily within the next few months. We will continue to explore new strategic opportunities to expand our presence here”, he said while spelling out its commitment to the Indian market. 12/04/10 Times of India

    Foreign pilots in demand as fleets expand

    September 28, 2010

    New Delhi: Airlines have started lobbying the aviation regulator for a blanket five-year clearance to employ foreign pilots, preparing to expand their combined fleet strength by one-third in anticipation of a coming boom in passenger traffic. The industry also wants the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to give airlines the flexibility to offer expat pilots three-year, renewable contracts. They are also seeking easier security procedures for the foreign staff.

    Top executives of domestic airlines, including Jet Airways (India) Ltd, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd and Air India, met director general Nasim Zaidi in New Delhi last week to voice their demands, said people familiar with the development.

    Some 150 aircraft are expected to join India’s airlines by 2015, adding to the 400-odd they currently operate, and creating 1,500 pilot jobs. Airlines are expanding in the anticipation that accelerating economic growth will boost passenger traffic, which has grown 20% year-on-year so far in 2010. The regulator has told the airlines, which have 600 expats among 4,000 pilots, to phase out the foreigners by July to create jobs. India also has around 4,000 fresh-out-of-college unemployed, inexperienced pilots who can’t command aircraft.

    Safety expert Mohan Ranganathan said expats should be allowed with riders that existing Indian co-pilots will be upgraded. 28/09/10 Tarun Shukla/Live Mint

    SOURCE: Airline Business

    By Graham Dunn
    The battleground among low-cost carriers has never been so stretched. Where once it was easy to split the market into either low-cost or network carrier camps, the lines have long since been blurred. Now even among the low-cost carriers themselves, the proposition can differ widely, whether it be frequent flyer schemes, distribution platforms, onboard services, codeshares or even fully-fledged alliance membership.

    On the one hand categorising airlines as a low-cost carrier probably only really matters to the media; it makes it easier for people like myself to brand a carrier as standing in one camp or another. Air Berlin, after all, has never described itself as a low-cost carrier – so its evolution into an alliance member with oneworld arguably should not have been a surprise. Others tried to dodge being categorised in traditional camps at all; Virgin Blue for example in 2005 dubbed itself a New World Carrier.
    But the upscale evolution among low-cost carriers, and its potential impact on its fundamentals, was one of the under-currents during the recent World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London. And what is clear is more than ever is no one size fits all.

    “It has split between fundamentalists and the others that are not,” suggests Alex Cruz, chief executive of Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling. While the fundamentalists’ tendency is to stick to the core low-cost model, others are tinkering further at the fringes of the legacy world – further enticed by the opportunity to attract and retain business travellers that have downgraded during the economic crisis. “The market conditions have evolved. I don’t believe the rest of the carriers that are fundamentalists will be able to continue forever [without evolving],” says Cruz.

    While his own airline Vueling is among those evolving and already has some mainstream characteristics, such as GDS distribution, Cruz insists this will only be done on the low-cost carrier’s terms. “Number one [priority] is to have the lowest possible cost base. Period,” he says. “Then keep evolving the product….so long as we are not compromising the first premise.” While he does not consider Vueling to be a fundamentalist low-cost carrier in outlook, he adds: “I do need to be fundamentalist about the cost-base.”

    This is one area all low-cost carrier executives appear to agree. But what is noticeable is the fundamentals of the low-cost business can differ depending where in the world or maturity cycle you are. For example, secondary airports have fuelled much of the low-cost growth in the European and American markets, but in other parts of the world such opportunities are more limited.

    “Australia is a bit different,” notes former bmibaby chief and Tiger Airways Australia’s new managing director, Crawford Rix. “When you fly from nowhere to nowhere, unlike in Europe, you really are flying nowhere to nowhere. It’s a very different environment we operate in.” But at the same time the environment does offer its own benefits. “As we grow our fleet, there are some great opportunities to fly overnight in Australia and by doing that we will up our utilisation,” he says.

    FlyDubai’s chief executive Ghaith Al Ghaith points to a similar situation in his region. “The fact you don’t have secondary airports means that will not allow you to operate to cheaper airports is one issue that is different. But the positive side is our airports in the region are open 24 hours a day, so we can mount utilisation around the clock and our utilisation is always going to be better [than other regions]. That is a great advantage.”

    In Europe low-cost carriers are increasingly present at more mainstream airports and even cost-crusader Ryanair has made recent moves into higher yielding more mainstream airports of late, such as its newly launched base at Barcelona El Prat airport.

    “In Europe we have been living through a phenomenal passage of secondary airport growth,” notes Vueling’s Cruz. “Part of that growth has been funded by public money and this has driven strong passenger growth.” But he questions what the impact might be should the new stranglehold on public purse strings in Europe hit these airports: “If the money goes away, will the passengers go away?”

    In Brazil, chief financial officer at the country’s largest low-cost carrier Gol, Leonardo Pereira, highlights the large segment of business travellers in the country. “You cannot ignore that segment,” he says. Gol certainly has not. Its acquisition of Varig in 2008 may have brought with it an ill-fated flirtation with long-haul – from which it rapidly withdrew and returned to what Pereira terms Gol’s “original DNA” – but also gave it a big presence at Brazil’s key airports and an established frequent flyer programme. The carrier has also subsequently embarked on codeshares with several network carriers, including American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

    But Pereira believes it retains its key low-cost fundamentals like operating a single fleet type and 95% of flights being less than three hours. “We’re shifting, but we are keeping the basics. Our cost base is going back to the 2006 pre-Varig levels. Costs [this year] will be slightly lower than 2006 levels,” he says. “The model still has a low-cost structure. If you keep to the original values, it is not going to destroy the model, it is going to evolve it.”


    Even Southwest Airlines, the original poster-child for the low-cost sector, has dipped its toe in the network world. It continues to work on codeshare-style relationships with Mexican carrier Volaris, and will when it completes its recently announced acquisition of AirTran, move a little away from another of the low-cost carrier staples; adherence to a single-fleet type. Southwest plans to operate Airtran’s 86 Boeing 717s, alongside its existing 737-300/500/700s.

    “We’ll be close to 700 aircraft [combined],” explains Southwest’s executive vice president, strategy and planning, Bob Jordan. “When you get to a certain size, the key is to be able to do things efficiently. The challenge you always have is doing small things in small numbers.”

    But Jordan adds: “We haven’t shifted in the key elements. Those things never changed. [Over the years] we have refined our processes.”


    Elsewhere the low-cost model has been pushed further by the development of long-haul operations. Here AirAsia X remains the trailblazer. Its chief executive Azran Osman Rani has been a regular at the Low Cost Airlines Congress over the years and he points to a noticeable a change in perceptions over the years. “I really enjoy coming to this conference to meet people who are writing off our chances of success,” he jokes. “This is my fourth time and there are less of them.

    “One of the things we have learnt is not to come in with any pre-conceived ideas. Our journey has been one of a lot of experimentation and learning…and we continue to do so,” he says. The carrier, which has just secured access to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and will launch thrice-weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur in December, is also embarking on steps to separate out from its parent with a public listing earmarked for next year. Azran says under this structure it can be even bolder in its experimentation.

    With more carriers eyeing the long-haul field and budget carriers continuing to push the envelope of revenue generation, service offerings and passenger connections, the low-cost sector has and continues to evolve. “I think it has been changing for a long time,” says Adel Ali, chief executive at pioneering Middle East low-cost carrier Air Arabia. “The world was a different place then and it is a different place today. Low-cost carriers are changing to ensure they keep their costs down.”

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