Monday, October 12, 2020

AAI to set up flying schools at six airports including Jalga

 The Civil Aviation Ministry has approved a policy to set up flight training organisations (FTO) or flying schools to meet the growing future demand for pilots in India, and selected six smaller airports including Jalgaon in north Maharashtra to set up the schools.

Airport Authority of India (AAI) chairman Arvind Singh said along with Jalgaon, airports at Belagavi and Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Lilabari in Assam, and Salem in Tamil Nadu have been chosen and competitive international bidding process could be announced soon to select the FTOs.

The policy is based on the recommendations by a committee under the chairmanship of Air Chief Marshal (retired) Fali H Major, a AAI Board member, which examined the existing flight training infrastructure and its problems. Indian aviation sector is projected to require over 9400 trained pilots over the next five years and nearly 30 per cent of aspiring pilots have to travel to foreign flight training schools and the courses are expensive as they have to pay in foreign currency.

He said the six airports were chosen as they had lesser flying activity but adequate land and other resources to set up the FTOs. Jalgaon airport, for example, has only Trujet operating five flights per week on Jalgaon-Mumbai sector, and daily flights on Jalgaon-Ahmedabad sectors.

According to the approved policy, land will be allocated to selected FTOs on a 25-year lease and the infrastructure developed by the operator at the airport will be handed over to the AAI at zero cost at the end of the lease period. A maximum of two FTOs will be allowed at each of the six AAI airports and each will be allocated a maximum ground area of 5000 sq m including hangar, airside and city-side facilities.

12/10/20 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

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