Indian Aviation Overview

Features by Indian Aviation News and CAE OAA Facebook page,

THE Civil Aviation Sector is facing acute manpower shortage, especially in the technical cadre. As per estimates of the Sub-Group on Human Resource Development for the Civil Aviation Sector, India would need 5,400 pilots by the end of the 2012.

Similarly the demand for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and Air Traffic Controllers would rise with the increasing number of flights and the new airports. Given a population of more than one billion plus, the requirement for the technical manpower appears inconsequential, but the low supply churn out rate of quality technical grade personnel might perpetuate an undermanned Indian aviation sector.

There are around 40 approved flying training institutes in the country out of which 17 are functional. The training of commercial pilot is a time consuming process. At present, only 100 pilots graduate from these flying schools every year. On the short term demand basis there would be a requirement of at least 150 pilots per year as replacements for retirements and normal attrition.

simulator2For the airlines, shortage of pilots would result in higher pilot salaries putting pressures on their revenue margins.

Over the last two years, lured by lucrative opportunity that had opened up in the Indian skies, many rushed to get a commercial pilot licence (CPL). However out of 100 applicants, airlines barely get 15-20 pilots who meet their requirements. The rejection rate at the CPL level is high because most of the courses of pilot trainings institutes (both Indian and overseas) are not recognized by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has permitted the foreign pilots to fly aircrafts on domestic circuits to mitigate the shortage of trained pilots in India. However, that is not the long term solution, given the growth of Indian aviation sector. There is also a shortage of flight engineers and technicians, with airlines resorting to poaching just as in the case of pilots. At present there are 45 DGCA approved training schools located all over India in the field of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering training.

Though Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AME) institutes produce about 5,000 students every year, they provide only basic training for issuance of the basic licence. These students are utilized as technicians as they do not have experience with heavy aircraft and do not have type rated licence. The candidates passing out of the AME institutes need to undergo a minimum one year experience on the heavy aircraft and pass DGCA examination to get type rated licence. Due to shortage of type rated licence holders, the aviation industry faces scarcity of engineers. Currently, foreign engineers are being inducted in Indian civil aviation to bridge this gap.

For Air Traffic Controller, the Roy Paul Committee, which looked into air traffic management in 2005, reported over 200 ATC vacancies. The gap has stated to be widened three times. Civil Aviation Training College (CATC) at Allahabad is the only such institute which imparts ATC training. The training at the Civil Aviation Training College, Allahabad, lasts six months. It has 12 simulators, each of which can train only 10 people at a time. So in a year, only around 300 can be trained, however the estimated shortfall is 600. The other constraint is the shortage of instructors at the training institute. The basic qualification for an ATC is B.Tech (telecom/electronics/radio engineering) or M.Sc. in electronics.

There is a general shortfall of candidates since many aptly qualified engineers prefer other options in their technical field. In addition, initial attrition rate in this high-pressure job is pegged at 10-15 per cent.

There is an urgent need for enhancing the infrastructure and other requirements of training institutes. The training institutes should tie-up with various airlines and the Financial Institutions enabling the institutes to scale up operations and also to increase the absorption of the candidates for airline operations. India also needs to reassess the training period, modules and examinations; and bring these at par with international standards. In addition, Government has taken various steps, including- increasing the retirement age of pilots to 65 years; setting up of training institute in Maharashtra; upgradation and modernization of infrastructure at the India Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Akademi to enhance its training capacity from 40 to 100 pilots and reduce the training period.

There is a need of type rated AME training institutes which at present are not in India. Hence it would be necessary to involve the technical training institutes like NITs / IITs to conduct aviation related courses such as Aircraft Maintenance to ensure that quality manpower is available to the aviation industry for maintenance of aircraft etc.

To cater to the shortfall in the rising demand of trained ATCs, a new training academy has to be established on similar lines of the one existing in Allahabad.

It would be prudent to re-assess the eligibility criteria and to allow science graduates to appear for the ATC as per the pattern followed in the European countries. This step would broad base the number of candidates thus increasing the number of eligible candidates for the formal training.

The government should also implement necessary measures for upgradation of the CNS/ATM that would be fully automated to reduce the controller interventions during all phases of the flight until unless is required. This will reduce the verbal communication between the pilots and ATCs (which can be misinterpreted). This step would facilitate to a certain level in reducing the stress factor faced by the ATCs.

To upgrade and encourage the blossoming of the technical and engineering academies for various aviation disciplines, it may be prudent to provide fiscal incentives like land at concessional rates, duty exemption in the import of training equipments, income tax holidays etc. to augment the necessary institutional infrastructure.

Pilots and airline pilots in particular, need to be trained as older ones retire. However for training the pilots, there is an acute shortage of qualified Flying Instructors. The aspiring Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) holders are not keen to opt for a career as flying instructors.

This shortage of flight instructors would eventually feed into a shortage of pilots. The dearth of flight instructors is largely due to the relatively low paying nature of the job. To retain Flying Instructors at these flying schools, compensation and other benefits need to improve. Contracts associating the instructor and the academies for certain minimum years could be explored.

To ensure that the flying institutes have access to competent instructors, the government may make it mandatory for/every Indian commercial pilot to devote a certain percentage of his time (which would be remunerated) to provide training. The step can be implemented till the time, there is a shortage of pilots in the industry.

The government may also consider increasing the age limit of the flight instructors (subject to medical fitness) till such time there is a shortage of pilots. This extension however should not entitle the person to fl y commercial aircraft.

DGCA on its part has undertaken certain measures to facilitate availability of more Chief Flight Instructors (CFI), Flight Instructor In-charge (FII) by redefining eligibility criteria and also by obtaining Qualified Flight Instructors from Defence. A Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) has also been issued, which permits pilots holding Flight Instructor's Rating to impart training up to the age of 65 years. Flying requirements for issue of CPL has been reduced and the age of pilots, who can operate commercial aircraft has been increased from 60 to 65 years.

Aviation University

The government is planning to set up a national aviation university in the country soon. “As the aviation sector plays an important role in the growth of the country's economy, the government has proposed to set up a national aviation university in the country,” Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said at an international aviation conclave.

Ravi said the proposed university would have world-class facilities, ensuring minimum standards of aviation skills. “We are preparing a project report for this facility,” Ravi said at the fourth International Civil Aviation Negotiation Conference (ICAN 2011).

 The Minister did not disclose the budgetary details of the project. The proposed aviation university is expected to be a gateway of progress for the Indian aviation industry.

Last year, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) and the Subramanya Construction and Development Company (SCDC) had signed a joint venture agreement to set up an integrated aviation university and training campus in Bangalore. However, there was no further development on this front.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA)

IGRUA which was set up in 1985 functions under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Govt. of India (GOI) through its Governing Council (GC). IGRUA is located at Fursatganj District Raebareli Uttar Pradesh.

IGRUA has entered into a Management Contract with Global Aviation Giant - Canadian Aviation Electronics, Canada to improve IGRUA's standard to world class.

The Refresher courses for all Chief Flying Instructors /Pilot Instructor Incharge of flying clubs are conducted regularly.

The Pilot training to candidates of Indian Airlines, Border Security Force (BSF), Coast Guard candidates, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy is also provided by IGRUA as and when required.

Candidates intake is planned in such a way that IGRUA could be able to pass out over 100 candidates in a year.

IGRUA remains as epitome of standardization and excellence in flying training, with a potential to become the first air university of the country.

IGRUA provides on-the-job training to candidates undergoing AME diploma in various Indian private institutes.

The main objective of the Akademi is to improve the Flying Training standards in the Civil Aviation Industry and to impart Line Oriented Flying Training of International Standards, as per International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) norms. The students are honed thoroughly for easy transition to Airline industry.

CAE Global Academy Gondia

CAE Global Academy Gondia is the newest and most modern flight school in India, opened two years ago to train aspiring airline pilots. Also known as the National Flying Training Institute Private limited (NFTI), the school is a joint venture of AAI and CAE.

CAE Global Academy Gondia is a member of the CAE Global Academy, the largest worldwide network of ab-initio flight training organizations with 11 flight academies on five continents.

CAE Global Academy Gondia / NFTI offers a first-class training and living environment focused on developing you to become an airline pilot. Training resources include modern trainer aircraft (Diamond DA 40 and DA 42), advanced flight simulation training devices, well-equipped classrooms, extensive online materials, and a highly experienced and dedicated instructional staff and academy management team.

The CAE Global Academy Gondia / NFTI is located in Gondia, Maharashtra -- about a 3-hour car drive east of Nagpur and accessible by train or by air (through Nagpur).

Helicopter Pilot Training

Earlier this year, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and CAE had agreed that a helicopter ab initio pilot training program will be launched this year at the CAE Global Academy Gondia. The program will lead to a commercial helicopter pilot licence (CHPL) and within three years is expected to graduate approximately 100 new helicopter pilots annually.

Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited, the largest helicopter operator in India, is a minority shareholder of NFTI and will provide expertise and operator insights into the new training program.

The civil and military sectors in India will require close to 2,500 helicopter pilots over the next 10 years. Current development of new helicopter pilots is insufficient to meet this requirement, so CAE Global Academy Gondia is stepping up to fill this important need to support continued aviation growth in India.

 This represents CAE's first ab initio program for rotary-wing pilots, adding to CAE's extensive experience, infrastructure and capabilities in fixed-wing ab initio pilot training.

The world-class training at the CAE Global Academy will prepare and position students to land their first jobs as helicopter pilots. The helicopter ab initio program will blend

CAE's global best-practices training methodology, simulation-based training and flight training to meet and exceed Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines.

 The new CAE Global Academy Gondia campus features state-of-the-art classrooms, training devices, and aircraft as well as comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations. In November, a new sports complex was opened. The new helicopter ab initio program will incorporate about a dozen training helicopters, as well as flight and navigation procedures trainers (FNPT).

Helicopter ab initio student enrollment is expected to begin in late 2011, and will use the CAE Aircrew Selection System -- a multidisciplinary process designed to evaluate a candidate's "thinking and doing" capabilities in a contextual aviation environment and under stress.

Following graduation from the CAE Global Academy Gondia with a CHPL, pilots would be prepared for type-rating training on a specific helicopter type. The Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (HATSOFF), a joint venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and CAE, offers type-rating training at its training centre in Bangalore.

IndiGo-CAE pilot training centre

InterGlobe Enterprises Limited and CAE have formed a joint venture to set up a training centre in India.

InterGlobe Enterprise Limited of India is the parent agency of low-cost carrier IndiGo.

The new centre will be set in the National Capital Region of Delhi and provide pilot and maintenance training for the Indian aviation market.

To be the fifth aviation training centre operated by CAE in India, it will become operational by end of 2012. The focus of the new centre will be to provide 'wet-and-dry' type rating, recurrent, conversion and jet indoctrination training for pilots and training programmes for maintenance technicians.

Before flying commercial aircraft, pilots undergo up to 75 hours of training on simulators and there are different simulators for different aircraft. Pilots don't switch to fly other aircraft for which they don't have simulator training.

In aviation lingo, recurrent refers to fresh simulator training for a pilot when he switches airlines to fly new aircraft. Conversion refers to simulator training for newly hired trained pilots by airlines and jet indoctrination refers to long periods of familiarization with wide-bodied aircraft.

The formation of a joint venture by CEA and InterGlobe was earlier announced at the Paris Air Show this year.

India is estimated to need more than 7,000 new commercial pilots over the next seven years.

Each year, CAE trains over 1,500 crew members, including pilots from Air India, Go Air, IndiGo, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet, at its training centre in Bengaluru.

CAE is only one of the two aviation simulator makers in the world. The other is US-based Frasca. Because of the heavy demand for simulators, the waiting period for delivery is said to be over four years.


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