Eight companies win bids to set up flying academies in India for pilot training

Published : June 03, 2021 11:47 IST

The first trial landing at the Kalaburagi Airport in 2018. This will be one of the airports where a flying training academy will be set up. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The Civil Aviation Ministry announced on June 2 the setting up of eight new flying training academies. The academies, cleared under the liberalised Flying Training Organisation (FTO) policy of the Airports Authority of India, will come up at airports in Belagavi (Karnataka), Jalgaon Maharashtra), Kalaburagi (Karnataka), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh) and Lilabari (Assam).

Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy, Jet Serve Aviation, RedBird Aviation, Samvardhane Technologies, and Skynex Aero have won the rights to establish the academies under the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. Currently, India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, issues about 800 commercial pilot licences every year. Of these, around 30 per cent are given to pilots who have undergone flying training at a school abroad.

The decision to open the academies was taken on the recommendations of a committee of experts headed by the former Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major. Last March, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed the Rajya Sabha that “flying training operations at these airports will help increase the number of commercial pilots produced every year within India”.

The Airports Authority of India had invited bids for establishing flying training schools in November 2020. To make the setting up of schools attractive for the bidders, the Airports Authority of India significantly reduced the minimum annual rental to Rs.15 lakh. It also scrapped the concept of airport royalty. The award letters were issued on May 31 to the winning bidders.

Currently, India’s scheduled airlines employ over 9,000 pilots. As per Civil Aviation Ministry projections, over the next five years India will require 9,488 more pilots.

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