Are you one of those who only see pilots and flight attendants as the key positions in aviation? Well, there are many more people who work to keep us in the air. Subhash Motwani explores other career avenues in the aviation industry
The recent unprecedented growth in the Indian aviation industry has resulted in many career opportunities opening up for interested aspirants. The aviation industry needs trained service technicians, traffic assistants, customer service agents, travel clerks and cargo handlers.
To combat the current competition, most airlines require and seek versatile manpower. Today, they prefer an all-rounder, who is equally conversant with passenger as well as cargo handling. New recruits taken on contract basis by airlines, have a higher probability of being absorbed on a permanent basis if they are well versed in both these areas of the airline industry.
As an aviation industry aspirant, you should weigh the pros and cons of the various training programmes that surround you. Most students prefer the more glamourous and high paying jobs like that of the cabin crew or pilot. In both these areas, there are too many people applying for a handful of vacancies, and therefore, there is a higher probability of not even being called for an interview. Recently, when a noted airline advertised for cabin crew vacancies, there were almost 50,000 applicants for 250 vacancies—a ratio of 1: 200.
Becoming a pilot requires investments of almost Rs 10 -15 lakhs, apart from the two or three years for training. Thus, the need of the hour is to capitalise on the current aviation boom rather than getting trained today. Cargo handling is one of the fastest emerging areas of employment. Mumbai and Delhi airports have already seen an exceptional growth rate of 30 per cent in cargo traffic. Hence, the demand for qualified people to handle cargo is very high.
In India, Institutes like IHCTM (Mumbai) and Speedwings (Kochi) offer the basic cargo as well as the international IATA/ FIATA qualification in dangerous goods. Your choice of a career in aviation largely depends upon the demand and supply equation—that is the industry’s demand for qualified staff visà-vis the number of candidates available for employment.-
There are very few cargo training centres, which offer international quality training at a price of Rs 25,000-40,000 for a four to six month course. The trick is to get an entry either in cargo handling, courier services or even as a ground staff at the airport before you go opt for higher qualifications and specialisation. Also, many institutes in Mumbai award Airline Management Diploma programmes, which qualify you for cargo and passenger handling in eight months time.
The diploma also equips you with travel and tourism skills, thus making you eligible for a job as a customer service agent or a traffic assistant. Apart from international qualifications, the training helps you to directly pursue advance qualifications. Versatility in training is the key to success to meet the challenges of the ever-changing aviation industry.
The author is the director of IHCTM
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