Aviation as a career option is highly thrilling and definitely exciting. The realm of aviation industry is wide, everything that has to deal with the operation of an aircraft including aircew, air traffic management, flying operation, technical aspect comes under this field.
Aviation industry is among the fatest growing industries in India owing to privatisation of the industry. The liberal access to this industry has also opened up a immense job opportunities to meet the increasing demand of manpower.
To provide you with more details on this attractive career option of aviation industry, we have an exclusive interview with Captain Dharamraj Shukla, CEO, GAA SpeedJet Aviation. Read further to know more about this fascinating career option.
Q1) Kindly brief us about Speedjet Aviation Academy, its inception, development and performance?
SpeedJet Aviation Academy was established in 2008 with an aim to offer multiple flying and ground training courses in the aviation sector including Pre-Pilot Program, Cabin Crew Program, Ground Handling Program and Type Rating Program. The company has registered a steady growth and, in a short span of time, trained large number of commercial pilots, cabin crew attendants and ground staff, all of whom are placed with across national and international airline.
All programs are conducted at our facility in Mumbai and at our partner institutes in Florida, USA and Bahrain. The core team at SpeedJet Aviation comprises of experienced airline pilots and senior cabin attendants with a combined flying experience of over 50 years.
Q2) Purpose behind the tie up with Gulf Aviation Academy? How fruitful has it been?
The partnership between GAA and SpeedJet Aviation offers Indian students a competitive advantage in the aviation industry that is at par with international norms. GAA is a key component of Bahrain's aviation sector and enjoys a stronghold in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.
This move is a first-of-its-kind for GAA in the Asian market to offer a comprehensive range of structured training programs for all aviation personnel including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground staff with training sessions in GAA's training facility at Bahrain.
Our state-of-the-art course equipment enables us to offer a comprehensive and modern aviation training infrastructure and set new standards in aviation training. Students also get access to various training facilities around the world through our global affiliates and our training module caters to requirements across APAC, Middle East and Africa.
SpeedJet Aviation also takes care of students' stay, air tickets, visa and ground transportation for the full course duration in Bahrain (Stay includes a 3-5 Star Hotel Accommodation with breakfast).
Q3) How is aviation industry doing and what is the future?
The aviation industry is on a high-growth trajectory with India likely to become the third-largest aviation market by 2020. As of now, Indian airlines are reporting increased profitability, low-cost carriers have placed heavy orders for new aircraft, there are multitude of new airports coming up and FDI flows into domestic airlines have surged. All these factors combined will lead to a sharp spike in demand for trained aviation personnel.
Q4) Is aviation industry promising from the point of view of job opportunities?
According to a study instituted by Civil Aviation Ministry, the domestic aviation sector is projected to employ nearly four million people in the next two decades, driven by improved economic activities and labour productivity.
With Minimum Eligibility Criteria (details below) as low as HSC, anyone and everyone can take advantage of this impending growth in the aviation sector. A Pilot typically starts at Rs. 2 lakh in India and that figure goes well over Rs. 3.5-4 lakh internationally.
Cabin crew salaries start around 40-50,000 in India and scales past 1.5 lakh for international airlines. The starting salary for ground staff is around 12-15,000 in India and ranges from 60-80,000 if you are working for an international airline.
Q5) The Speedjet Aviation Academy provides training programs like Pre-Pilot Program (12-15 months), Cabin Crew Program, Ground Handling Program and Type Rating Program. What are the credentials required to join these programs?
CPL Minimum Eligibility Criteria
- Education-HSC with Physics & Mathematics
- Age- 18 (Flying can be started earlier, Licence is given @18)
- Medically Fit - Class 2 Medicals followed by Class 1 Medicals
Airbus A320 Type Rating (Gulf Aviation Academy, Bahrain) Minimum Eligibility criteria
- Valid CPL license
- Valid Multi Engine Instrument Rating
- Valid Class 1 Medical Certification
- English Level 4
- At least 18 years of age
Cabin Crew Minimum Eligibility criteria
- Education: HSC from any recognised board or university
- Age- At least 18
- Height- 155 cms (Female) & 170 cms (Male)
Ground Staff Minimum Eligibility Criteria
- Education-HSC from any recognised board or university
- Age- At least 18
Q6) How is training Indian aviation aspirants different from training the aspirants abroad?
The Infrastructure available in India currently for the Safety & Emergency procedure training is limited to airlines only. Students get to experience it only when they are selected by airlines. A lot of selected candidates are unable to live up to the training standards as they hardly have any practical experience. This coupled with the job pressure leads to high drop rates from the training.
Whereas, once our students go to Bahrain, they get trained at par with international standards. They get a hands-on experience on all Safety & Emergency procedures without any pressure. Our Infrastructure consists of a mock setup for Airbus A320, Boeing B737 and Embraer E190.
Our training is spread across 20 days and helps the students understand all procedures not just theoretically but also practically. If at all any student is unable to cope, a recurrent training is also provided. This module imparts all the necessary skill set required by a candidate to work across any airline in the world. So, once our students get selected by these airlines, they find it relatively easier as they have already done this training before.
Also read: Become a Pilot and Get to the Pivot
Q7) Your advice for those who expect to see a flourishing career in aviation through your esteemed academy?
Our aim is to make aviation training affordable and accessible to students from diverse economic as well as educational backgrounds.
Indian Aviation Sector is currently undergoing a big boom. Just as we had the Y2K boom in the late 1990s, we are experiencing it now in Aviation. With over 1000 planes ordered by airlines in India alone and over 10,000 airplane delivery expected worldwide in the next decade, the time is perfect for anyone who wishes to make their career in aviation in any filed - be it Pilots, Cabin Crew, Ground Staff or AME.
Indian Aviation sector is the fastest growing sector worldwide and the numbers are only expected to rise. This is the best time to get into aviation as there is a strong bullish sentiment and every year we are breaking our previous peaks. We must also not discount the fact that India is the most populated country in the world and with over 30% Youth population.
We would contribute to over 20% of all Aviation Professionals worldwide in the next 2 decades. With all Indian Airlines showing record profits, coupled with the placed orders, the future in aviation is bright. There could not have been a better time for anyone to make a career in Aviation.
About Captain Dharamraj Shukla, CEO, GAA SpeedJet Aviation
Captain Dharamraj Shukla has been part of the aviation industry since 2007 and is a commercial pilot license holder. Post his Boeing B737 Type Rating from Higher Power Aviation, Dallas (USA), Captain Shukla was a ground instructor in USA for over 2 years.
Capt. Dharamraj Shukla founded SpeedJet Aviation with an aim to offer comprehensive range of standardised and international-quality training programs for all aviation personnel including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground staff in India. As Gulf Aviation Academy's India head, he is also responsible for business development, marketing and managing all training for GAA in India.
Captain Shukla is an avid cricket fan and loves to travel in his spare time.