TE RAJA SIMHAN, CHENNAI, JUNE 17
Getting skilled people is the challenge
In the next ten years, an additional 3.5 lakh employees will be required in the aviation sector for both commercial and cargo operations. However, the industry will face a major challenge in getting skilled employees to work in various disciplines, including ground handling, according to HR experts.
The Civil Aviation Policy, which suggests establishment of a Civil Aviation University, said there is an absence of qualitative and recognised formal educational programmes. The policy says there is no structured infrastructure that supports employee developmentin aviation.
Majority of State flying schools have been closed and aspiring students have to go abroad for basic training , said B. Govindarajan, Chief Operating Officer, Tirwin Management Services, a Chennai-based aviation training service provider.
The new government should focus on developing a large skilled workforce for the aviation industry. At present, about one lakh direct employees work in the industry, he said.
According to Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India, with each new aircraft, at least 100 direct jobs will be created, and an estimated 3,500 to 5,000 direct jobs will have to be filled over the next 12 to 18 months. Nearly 45 per cent of the workforce is ground staff and the rest include cabin crew and pilots. Students who train in India want to complement their training with a certification from the US, as it has international recognition, he said.
According to Rituparna Chakraborty, Senior VP & Co-Founder, TeamLease Services, the industry is witnessing an acute shortage of pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers. Two years ago, there was a demand for over 5,200 pilots, and this has only risen.
Out of the 40 approved flight training schools, only 17 are operational with a capacity of 100 a year, just about half the number in demand, including retirement and attrition. The shortage has led to spiralling wage levels and large scale recruitment of pilots from foreign countries to fill domestic requirements, she said.
Chakraborty said 45 approved aircraft maintenance engineer training schools churn out 5,000 students a year with very basic training. Most of them work as technicians as they do not have the “type rated license” (a certificate given to operate on a certain aircraft type) or experience in working with heavy aircrafts. Due to non-availability of these engineers, foreign engineers are recruited. The license fee is high and the infrastructure is poor, she said.
The Civil Aviation Training College in Ahmedabad, with a capacity of 300 students, is the only institute providing training for air traffic control. The industry needs at least 800 ATCs needed in a year, she said.
Sunil Goel, MD GlobalHunt, says people are needed for back-office operation such as avionic, engineering operations and maintenance, commercial, logistic and supply chain, road planning along with strong support centre for financial operations, marketing, customer service and ticketing.
There are only a few institutions that are sponsored by aviation companies. Ideally there should be 70-80 per cent engagement of the industry players in training.