How To Pursue An Aviation Career in India (A Detailed Guide)
Aviation career has always been coveted by young career aspirants. However, when Covid 19 pandemic started to spread, domestic flights were suspended. International aviation came to a standstill. Fear and paranoia of catching the disease unknowingly from just about anyone put life on a backfoot. Suddenly flights were grounded, employees were sent on leave without pay. Salaries were cut and some even lost their jobs.
Needless to say, airlines suffered heavy losses. Losses run in billions making the aviation industry severely challenged. Having closed since 23-24 March 2020; flights resumed partially only since 25 May 2020.
In this scenario, young aspirants who had earlier aimed for a career in the aviation industry in pre-covid times might have apprehensions about their career choice.
Since flights resumed, domestic flights have gradually witnessed more bookings.
Though there might be some long term impacts on standard operating policies and systems in the aviation industry as a result of covid-19, the present downturn is expected to eventually pick up and normalize. This means the demand for various technical and high visibility/frontline jobs in the aviation industry will continue to exist.
However, as 2021 signs of progress and aviation industry recruitments start; the aspiring fresh graduates and experienced individuals will simultaneously compete for vacancies that arise. Before we consider what are the aviation career options, let us have an overview of some issues surrounding the industry.
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Challenges to the aviation industry in the recent past:
- The global financial crisis of 2009
- Fuel shortage
- High fuel costs
- New private airlines
- Competitive cheaper ticket rates
- Labor unrest and strikes
There have been sudden challenging situations affecting the aviation industry in the past. Think of the 9/11 terrorist attack and how it affected the world aviation industry. Especially that of the United States of America. Gradually, the global aviation industry bounced back though it affected the way aviation security systems work.
SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome also challenged the aviation industry. The Global financial crisis of 2009 resulted in unemployment in the aviation sector.
More challenges for the aviation industry
- fossil fuel/oil shortage,
- growing competitiveness among new private airlines,
- high fuel cost and
- labour unrest.
There have been pilot walkouts, strikes by staff to meet their demands, and low-cost competitive prices by Airlines. These are among the several challenges faced by the aviation industry in recent times. Recently, aviation has been influential in the spread of the covid-19 pandemic throughout the world across continents.
Impact of covid-19 on airline industry:
A press release by IATA (The International Air Transport Association) on 3rd February 2021 says 2020 was the worst year in history for air travel demand.
The international air passenger demand in 2020 dipped by 75.6% in comparison to 2019. This reportedly is the sharpest dip in traffic in the entire history of the aviation industry.
Domestic air travel demand dipped by 48.8 per cent in 2020. Pre-booking for future travel is also down by 70% in January 2021 as compared to last year. Load factor dipped 17%.
IATA predicts an improvement of 50.4 per cent for 2021. Despite this improvement, the demand would be only 50.6% as compared to 2019, if travel restrictions continue to some degree.
There could be a limited 13% improvement in face of severe travel restrictions. In that case, the industry would be only 38% as compared to 2019.
IATA describes 2020 as a catastrophe.
- New outbreaks and strains of covid-19 restricted travel in summer and autumn of the northern hemisphere.
- Airlines traffic in the Asia Pacific went down by 80.3% as compared to 2019.
- This was the deepest fall among all other regions.
- In the entire year of 2020, capacity had dipped by 74.1% in comparison to 2019.
- The load factor was 19.5 per cent as compared to 61.4%.
- Domestic passenger traffic in India was a mere 2.1 % of the world’s share.
New strains and mutations of covid-19 have temporarily dashed the optimism of possible bounce back in global air travel as a result of the vaccine arrival. The travel restrictions on a global scale have been knee jerk reactions and unpredictable in the initial part of 2021.
IATA appeals to the governments to coordinate with the industry for developing vaccine standards that will restore confidence. So countries can restart International air travel by opening the borders.
New measures for safe air travel:
The IATA travel pass is an initiative by IATA To restart safe air travel internationally, with confidence, by effectively managing the covid-19 threat.
Providing accurate information about passenger’s health status after related tests, vaccines, and other measures are completed before travel. The vaccine and test results are provided in a safe process that safeguards the privacy of the passenger.
The ‘IATA travel pass’ is a global standardized solution for safe international air travel, meeting the covid-19 health check requirements.
It has four components;
1) Passengers find all the accurate information on safe air travel. This includes testing and vaccine requirements for pre-departure. IATA Timatic is accessed by airlines and travel agents. They can check passenger travel documentation concerning the health regulations, transit points, destination, nationality, and such.
2) Providing a registry of testing and vaccination centres. This way passengers find information on testing centres and labs that are compliant with their destination country requirements.
3) Passengers can access digital passports, so they can check their documents, and share their tests and vaccination with authorities.
4) The travel documents can be digitally managed. Passengers can smoothly access the online documents along their air travel journey.
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Aviation industry springs back to capacity in India:
Domestic flights are running at 80% of their 2019 figures. Covid-19 brought disruption to India’s airlines in 2020, similar to the global trend in the aviation sector.
India’s domestic air traffic is down to 270,000 passengers in 1 day as compared to 400,000 in 2019. However, these trends are transitory as vaccination for covid-19 is underway.
The pre-departure testing regulations and preventive measures inside the aircraft are active. A gradual bounce back for the aviation sector is expected soon, as the vaccination drive begins.
India Brand Equity Foundation, an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, predicts that India has the potential to be the world’s third-largest aviation market by 2024.
Bright future for the aviation industry
India has a robust demand for air transport with an increasing middle-class population. India is expected to overtake the UK by its large air passenger market. Many new airports are expected to come up to meet this demand for air travel.
Presently, 103 airports are in use. The government has plans to increase the number of airports to 190-200 by the financial year 2040.
By 2027, the number of operational planes in the country is expected to reach 1,100. Moreover, as per India Brand Equity Foundation, Rs. 35,000 crores foreign direct investment is expected in India’s aviation industry by 2025.
Airport infrastructure including aviation navigation services will most likely develop even further by 2026. This would be possible as the Indian government plans an investment of 1.83 billion US dollars in aviation development.
Jewar airport on the outskirts of Delhi will be designed and built by Zurich Airport International.
- Water aerodromes,
- Aircraft maintenance and repair units,
- More domestic flights,
- Better runways,
- New airports in small towns and such new initiatives are being planned by the government.
The expansion and development plans for airports by the government of India continues to take shape. There will be a need for more staff that are highly skilled and trained.
Aviation Career Options:
Aviation brings people, cultures, countries, economies, and markets closer. The aviation industry has the potential to influence global economic development. The aviation industry offers jobs to millions of people worldwide.
Some jobs are directly in the aviation industry. Many other jobs are created because of air travel, for example, tourism and culture.
The jobs connected to the aviation industry are
- Airport operators
- Aerospace engineers
- Cabin crew
- Flight crew
- Ground staff
- Checking staff
- Training and maintenance staff
- Engineers and designers for the aircraft and maintenance,
- Air traffic controllers and executives.
- Car rentals
- Freight forwarders
- IT and automation designing and support
- Airline and airport Logistics
- Managers, executives, and leaders
In addition to this, there are construction companies, call centres, suppliers of aircraft components, manufacturers of goods related to airports, and a variety of other products and services that support the aviation industry.
Automation in the production of aircraft, check-in, and booking sites, has created new employment opportunities. Software developers, coders, data scientists, and website designers work on these projects.
The aviation industry impacts the GDP of a country. It not only carries millions of passengers in a year but millions of tons of freight. The aviation industry combined globally is large in GDP.
The automobile and pharmaceutical industry in terms of GDP is smaller than the aviation industry. World economies are greatly impacted by international trade that is facilitated by the aviation industry.
Time-sensitive goods, highly perishable value goods, compact and light goods, food and flowers, lightweight and sensitive electrical components, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies are some examples of goods that are transported by air.
The aviation industry will continue to need qualified and technically trained professionals. Thousands of new staff will be recruited to replace the retiring professionals.
New routes and an increase in the number of flights will also generate new demand for recruitment.
What are the Courses for an Aviation career?
Some decades ago, individuals aspiring for an aviation career had to complete a regular graduation degree and then apply for jobs. But the scenario has changed now.
There are special professional degree courses you can do right after the 12th with a singular focus on your chosen career without wasting any time. Special skill sets are required for certain jobs in the aviation sector.
BBA in Aviation Management for aviation career:
These courses are offered at
- Institute of Logistics and Aviation Management.
- AIMS Institute Bangalore
- Kristu Jayanti College
- Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science
- G.D. Goenka
Eligibility is 12th pass with a minimum of 50 %. It is a 3-year course. The course fees range from 70K to 4L. Salaries for BBA aviation range from 4 to 8 L PA.
In this course, you can learn all the fundamentals of
- Financial accounting
- Business communication
- Business law
- Soft skills
- Cargo management
- Air traffic control
- Airline operations
- Aircraft maintenance management
Much such detailed knowledge is provided to equip students to head start their career in aviation. You can get admission on a merit basis or on clearing the entrance exam. It includes project work and many hands-on training modules.
Several top airline companies recruit students from these institutes. You can become air traffic managers, and aviation planners, after this course.
MBA in Aviation Management for aviation career:
This course meets the needs of global aviation requirements. This postgraduate course is offered at several institutes and private universities like
- Institute of Logistics and Aviation Management,
- D.Y. Patil University and others.
- Hindustan Business School
- Jain University
- Galgotias University
- Global Aviation Academy
Students get placed in top airline companies with this course.
This MBA program is a 2-year post-graduate course that equips students with all the knowledge about aviation management with practical training as well.
There are entrance exams for admission to this course. The starting salary range is 4-6 L upwards.
What you will learn in this course
- Airline Finance
- Total Quality Management
- Organizational Behavior
- Aviation Law
- Aviation Safety Management and Accident Investigation
- Airline Operation and Scheduling
- Accounting for Management
- Economic Analysis for Business Decisions
B.Sc. Aeronautics degree / B.Sc. Aviation degree for aviation career
The Bombay Flying Club’s College of Aviation (since 1928) offers a variety of courses.
- Commercial Pilot training,
- Aircraft maintenance engineering,
- B.Sc. Aviation,
- B.Sc. Aeronautics,
- Air hostess/cabin crew,
- Drone courses,
- Airport operations
Their courses are approved by DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation, Government of India) and affiliated with the University of Mumbai.
The 3-year B.Sc. An aviation degree has all the subjects required by an aviation career worldwide. They offer flying training, ground training, meteorology, and practical projects.
The minimum eligibility is 12th pass and medical tests clearance. Their faculty are highly qualified and experienced. The Aircraft maintenance engineering course is also for 3 years. Students appear for the DGCA exam and get a BAMEL license.
Practical training for aircraft maintenance is provided and students get job opportunities in top airlines, corporates, and training academies.
Other institutes that offer B.Sc. in aviation degrees are
- NIMS University
- Indira Gandhi Institute of Aircraft Engineering
- Garware Institute of Career Education and Development
- Banasthali Vidyapith
- Vels Institute of Science Technology
- Institute of Aviation and Aviation Safety, Mumbai
- Hindustan University
Diploma in Aviation
This diploma is full-time for 3 to 6 months up to 1 year. Minimum eligibility is 12th pass with a minimum of 50% score.
The course fee could range from 60K to 1L. There could be a personal interview or entrance test depending on the institute or university policy.
This Diploma in Aviation is offered at
- The Bombay Flying Club’s College of Aviation offers Diploma in Airport Operations
- Indian Institute of Aeronautics, New Delhi
- International Institute of Aviation, Bangalore
- Buddha Institute of Aviation Academy, New Delhi
- Vasundhara Aviation Academy, Bhopal
- Indian Aviation Academy, Mumbai
- Global Aviation Academy, Mumbai
- Thakur Institute of Aviation Technology, Mumbai
- Aptech Aviation Academy
IATA offers aviation career courses in the following areas
- Air navigation service
- Airline Management courses
- Airline operations and quality courses
- Airport courses
- Cargo and logistics courses
- Civil aviation authorities courses
- Dangerous goods regulations courses
- Environment and fuel courses
- Fares and ticketing courses
- Finance and accounting courses
- Ground Operations courses
- Law and Regulations
- Management and Leadership courses
- Safety Courses
- Sales and marketing courses
- Security courses
They offer a choice of 471 diplomas and courses, and you can choose
- What you wish to study,
- Your choice of subjects and
- How you wish to learn.
You can choose to let an instructor lead you through the course of study on your own. IATA has authorized training centres and accredited training schools, regional training partners, and academic partners.
They provide the study material for self-study. The IATA courses are ISO9001:2015 certified and ACCET accredited. There are IATA training centres around the world. Courses are led by qualified and trained instructors in several languages.
Through their specially developed course, you can interact with professionals from your chosen field. The course can be classroom-based or in a virtual classroom through online interactions.
If organizations prefer to get their staff trained through the IATA courses, the instructors visit the organization for delivering the course.
The offline exam process is supervised and online exams have remote supervision.
The certificate they provide does not have a score. Results are given as pass, pass with distinction, fail. Certain courses have practical exams as well.
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Aviation Career Job profile:
Here is an overview list of airport job profiles:
Airline Ground Operation
- Manage/control ground and air traffic operations
- Scheduling and coordinating
- Crew training
- Pilot scheduling
- Filing background check
- Checking medical reports
Cabin Crew/Air Hostess
- Responsible for passenger comfort and safety
- Providing equipment for emergency safety
- Checking property and safety equipment
- Explaining information related to safety and emergency
- Being cordial to passengers and greeting them
- In case of emergency, administering first aid
- Serving refreshments
- Preparing flight reports
Airport Operations Manager
- Supervising daily operations
- Evaluating and analyzing operations
- Coordinating operations
- Interacting with pilots, air traffic control, emergency personnel, and even the public
- Knowing and using government ordinances and law
- Safety and security implementation
- Record keeping of all the operations in detail
- Ensure driving safety regulation on the airfield
- Check all the operations comply with regulations and operating procedures.
- Adapt to daily changes in operations and coordinate accordingly
- Lookout for skill development of staff at multiple levels
- Train the staff whenever necessary
Cargo Operations Manager
- Supervise ground crew
- Oversee and coordinate the handling of cargo loading-unloading process
- Check the technicalities of cargo orientation in aircraft
- Accompany aircraft to manage and assist with cargo handling
- Complying with safety regulations and emergency
- Making reports on cargo and related paperwork
- Manage cargo team
Airport Traffic Controllers
- Coordinate safe movement of aircrafts
- Supervise arriving and departing aircrafts
- Responsible for safety of passengers and aircraft from departure to destination
- Maintain contact with pilots
- Guide pilots with weather conditions and advise on safe ascent and descent
- Coordinate with ground traffic and air traffic
- Design the aircraft for military and commercial use
- Review, assess, repair, and test the aircraft
- Investigate aircraft mechanics
- Design and assemble
- Knowledge of thermodynamics, aerodynamics, acoustics, flight mechanics, propulsion, guidance, and control systems
- Writing reports, design proposals, and create manuals
- Complying with latest practices
- Develop and design up to date machines as per requirements
- Complete understanding and knowledge of concepts, material, science, and everything concerned with aerospace engineering.
- Responsible for flying passengers and cargo to their destination
- Having complete knowledge of flying aircraft
- Teamwork with co-pilot and crew
- Communicate with the air traffic controller
- Skilled in handling new developments and making changes
- Problem-solving using parameters of weather, flight systems, route, and passengers
- Making checks on flight equipment and systems
- Understanding and interpreting data to make decisions
- Handling emergencies
- Communicating with passengers
- Creating flight reports
Aviation career skills you will need:
The skills that you will need for an aviation career are
- Effective communication skills
- Excellent technical skills
- Sharp eyesight and agile fit physique
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Attention to details
- Empathy and willingness to serve
- Self-motivation and discipline
- Ability to adapt to changing conditions
- Maintain calm in a difficult situation
- Flexibility to work in shifts and fond of travel
- Charming personality and personal grooming skills
Aviation career salary:
Salaries in the aviation industry vary as per the nature of the job and the airline company. Starting salary range for aviation jobs could be anywhere around Rs.30,000 upwards. Pilots are well paid and salaries ascend depending on the number of flying hours. Salary depends on various factors.
Influencing factors for deciding your salary could be the employer; your job profile, and the responsibility you handle.
Though there are pride and glamour associated with aviation jobs, a career in the airline industry can come with its challenges. What matters is a liking and passion for the work you do. Your liking and passion for an airline job will assure you a long successful career in the aviation industry.
Wishing you all the best for a satisfying aviation career!