Home' Asian Aviation : AAV November 2011 Contents AsianAviation | NOVEM BER 2011 31
– architect of Air Deccan, which was taken over by
Kingfisher not long ag o – has suspended operations
following serious funding problems compounded
by skyrocketing fuel prices and an overambitious
After two years of operations, Deccan-360 is now
left with just two ATR-72-202 turboprop aircraft.
It has returned 60 percent of its fle et, including its
mainstay Airbus A310-324 freighters.
Significantly, the thriving private-jet market in
India is known to account for 12 percent of the global
market. What’s more, it is much bigger than that of
China or Japan.
India boasts the largest number of private jets in
Asia – 142 compared with China’s 93 and Japan’s 76.
Manufacturers including Gulfstream, Bombardier and
Embraer are optimistic that this number should double
by 2021 and are increasingly focusing efforts on India.
With infrastructure constraints one of the biggest
obstacles to the growth of Indian civil aviation, a
good deal has already been invested in airport
development. Public-private participation and
FDI has funded the construction of ultra-modern
airports at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi in
South India. While New Delhi airport has been
given a boost with the commissioning of Terminal
III in 2010, modernisation programmes at Chennai
and Kolkata are far from complete.
Furthermore, the country’s plan to develop and
modernize airports at 35 secondary cities has yet to
pick up momentum, while the construction of Navi
Mumbai Airport, which is meant to relieve congestion
at Mumbai’s main Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Airport, has encountered repeated delays.
The problem facing Navi Mumbai is that the Civil
Aviation Ministry is undecided on how to divide
traffic between the existing airport and the new one.
Tr a ffi c allocation is critical for the viability of the
second airport, which is being built within 150km
of Mumbai’s main hub.
Similarly, Mopa airport in has been delayed over
the fate of the existing airport at Dabolim. Amber
Dubey, director of aerospace and defence advisory for
consulting firm KPMG, points out that in the case
of both Hyderabad and Bangalore airports all traffic
moved from the existing airports to new airports.
“This is not the case in Mumbai and Goa , where
the existing airports will continue to operate,”
Dubey says. “Absence of traffic allocation may lead
to congestion in one airport and underutilisation of
With airports trying to cover the cost of upgrades
and construction by charging airlines higher
landing and parking fees, there has been a growing
demand for setting up no -frills airports meant for
the exclusive use of the budget carriers. According
to Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi, Air India
Regional – the low- cost Air India subsidiary
formerly called Alliance Air – is proposing to
develop green-field airports intended for operations
by smaller aircraft such as ATR 72 turboprops in
three Indian states.
Fast-expanding Indian carriers are also confronted
with the twin challenge of training and retaining
their staff. CAPA has estimated that demand for
flight attendants, pilots and engineers will reach
90,000 by 2020 from about 32,000 in 2011. The
biggest challenge for carriers is finding skilled and
experienced pilots. Many are forced to hire expatriate
pilots paying them higher salaries than their Indian
India’s national civil aviation reg ulator
Directorate G eneral of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has
set a deadline of 2013 for the phasing out more than
400 expatriate pilots now flying with Indian carriers.
But given the state of flying academies in India –
described by industry analysts as “poor and pathetic”
– it is questionable whether the airlines will be able
to re cruit the trained pilots they need locally.
Some schools have be en found to be falsifying
the number of flying hours logg ed by their students,
with an on-g oing DG CA audit having revealed a
clear mismatch at several flying schools. The Indian
airline industry has already previously been shaken by
the discovery of a number of cases of pilots obtaining
their licenses fraudulently. Credentials obtained from
aircraft maintenance engineering institutions in India
are no more reliable, it is feared.
“Airlines in particular are concerned about where
they will get the pe ople to support their growth,”
CAPA says. “A shortage of skills is already impacting
their expansion and this is the case not only in
technical roles such as pilots and engineers but also
in the management positions.”
New training facilities
In a major step towards meeting requirements for
skilled manpower to support the boom in the Indian
aviation sector, the state-owned pilot-training school
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA)
is adding an International Aviation University and a
helicopter training facility, claimed to be the first of
its kind in Asia-Pacific region.
“The University aims to impart quality education
in every field of aviation requirements, which
includes aviation engineering , aeronautics, air
traffic management, aviation administration
and management, applied meteorology, aviation
environmental sciences, as well as maintenance,
repair and overhaul,” the Uttar Pradesh-based school
says a statement.
“Absence of traffic allocation may lead to congestion in one
airport and underutilisation of the other.” – Amber Dubey,
director of aerospace, KPMG
Mumbai Airport is facing congestion that is supposed to be eased by the construction of a new facility.
28/10/11 8:28 PM
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