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Sky is the limit in the aviation industry
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Sky is the limit in the aviation industry
BY A STAFF REPORTER | Thursday, August 03, 2006 11:41:25 IST
Looking at the whole gamut of job avenues arising within the aviation industry, BIDISHA GHOSAL explores the academies that help those who wish to pursue a career in the same, reach for the skies

There was a time when we had a limited choice when it came to flying: Air India and Indian Airlines. Now we have a whole gamut to sift through. The sudden surge of airlines automatically opened up a slew of job avenues. Even when the number of job openings shot up, it was no match for the number of applicants.
Then it was hardly thought appropriate for women to kick up their heels and fly about the world and men always looked down upon the job as a ‘woman’s thing’ and went for piloting … Now it is a coveted position that many are vying for. The exotic travel destinations, fat pay cheques and the prospect of meeting new people, lends a glamorous tag to the job.
There is a standard set of qualifications required for eligibility. For in-flight positions, a junior college education suffices, but for ground services nothing less than a graduate degree would do. A lady has to have a minimum height of 5.2” while a man should not be shorter than 5.7”. While most academies follow a chart that states the ideal weight for a particular height, a candidate’s appearance and potential are measured first. Men have an upper age limit of 28 years while for women it is 26 years. First impressions about appearance are the deciding factor. However, the medical test that everyone has to appear for is a clincher. Anyone with a family history of asthma or diabetes or heart disease, is automatically ruled out. More difficult to judge than a pleasing appearance is a pleasing personality. A student’s level of patience and tolerance are repeatedly tested.

Soha Ali Khan’s endorsement is the least of the feathers in Frankfinn’s cap. Very few know that it has been entered in the Limca Book of Records for not one, but four reasons: the
highest placement record, best cabin crew selections, a monthly aviation magazine and for owning its own airbus A-300, for training purposes. The institute has an exclusive tie-up with Edexcel — the largest body for vocational education based in UK — that grants it recognition in over 110 countries, worldwide. Inter-Globe Air Transport has an exclusive deal with Frankfinn for
placement priority.
“While we have a standard set of qualifications required for admission, everything is not as simple as it appears on paper,” said Arun Kumar the Senior Manager of Frankfinn. “Before counting inches or weighing kilos, we size up a candidate. Even if someone is slightly overweight, the person can still be groomed to look appealing. A lot depends on one’s body structure. Clear skin is a pre-requisite and there should be no visible scar.”
The one-year course, titled BTECH Higher National Certificate in Aviation, Hospitality and Travel Management, includes self-development, grooming and fitness, in-flight training at the institute’s airbus, effective communication, etc, and rounds up with a research project. Frankfinn is also the only aviation academy that teaches Galileo, a central computerised reservation system, relatively new to India.
“We guarantee job assistance to our students for a-year-and-a-half,” said Kumar. “Our job cell is open from 9 a.m. to midnight. Several companies do not advertise for all the openings they have but due to our reputation and networking, we get the inside news. Not only do we send them for interviews, but we are also the first academy to arrange for campus selections. A large fund is kept aside for the maintenance of an e-mail server in order to give students e-mail addresses, for communication. Blue Dot Courier has also tied up with Frankfinn for student courier services.”
Frankfinn has not only made inroads into the music industry with ‘Nic n Nicole’ but it has plans for a mega-budget movie, in 2007. By 2010, the institute with the largest number of centres across the country will set up a base in Dubai, Singapore and Kathmandu.

Avalon Aviation Academy
Aptech has several “global learning solutions” lined up for young adults and has only just added an air-hostess training course to its list of career options. Avalon Aviation Academy (AVA) has one-year and six-month courses on aviation training.
“The industry is growing at a rapid rate,” said Pramod Khera the CEO and MD of Aptech. “In four to five years it will see an expansion of job openings to more than 40,000. This obviously means that more seats for learning are required. So why not fill the void?”
“Realistically speaking, everybody who comes here may not be cut out for in-flight services,” said Shilpa S, a faculty member, AVA. “We cannot leave them out on a limb so we have ground services training too. While a junior college suffices for an air-hostess position, the ground service personnel require a graduation degree.”
The classes are to be conducted in 24 batches with as many as six per day. The institute stresses on language and its module, English as a spoken language, is expected to spill over from its appointed 50 hours to 100. On their list of faculty are former Miss India, Diana Hayden, noted singer, Sharron Prabhakar and 70s Bollywood sex symbol, Zeenat Aman.
“Each of them has made a mark in their respective fields,” said Gloria Shroff, Senior General Manager, AVA. “And their participation heightens the quality of our training. Who better to train students for a glamorous profession than glamorous women themselves?”
While Diana Hayden will be doling out lessons in body language and etiquette, Sharron will deal with communication and presentation skills. The charming Zeenat Aman will teach the students methods of managing stress and building confidence. What is more, the institute is also looking to rope in Shiamak Davar for dance lessons to enhance their poise and grace.
“Our six-month course covers the basics for someone who is interested in learning soft skills in a shorter span of time,” Shilpa explained. “When a candidate doesn’t quite fit the bill for an air-hostess position, we have something else to offer.”
The students will receive placement offers from Kingfisher, Go Airways, Emirates and many more. The one-day orientation camp with Zeenat Aman and Diana Hayden was held on July 25. It had an attendance of over 200 hopefuls and garnered positive responses.

Indian Aviation Academy
Indian Aviation Academy (IAA) was founded by Rizwan Kadri, a veteran airlines personnel. Besides holding senior management positions in airlines like Emirates and Qatar Airways, he has also been the Vice Chairman of Airport Operators Committee (AOC) at Mumbai International Airport. Lubna Kadri, Managing Director, is an experienced travel consultant, having around 15 years of international airline experience. She has worked for airlines like Iberia, Pan Am and Delta. This in itself makes IAA unique.
“If it is a male student, he enters with the idea of becoming a pilot,” she said. “A girl on the other hand, thinks only of being an air-hostess. They don’t realise that these careers are not for everybody. The biggest training we give them is of discernment. They should realise by themselves what they are best suited for. Students who cannot match our training are provided with a ground posting so that they can work their way up. A ground level posting no longer means that one cannot fly the skies.”
The academy runs through the entire cycle of grooming, voice modulation, first aid and
security training. Emphasis is laid on handling emergency situations.
“We get into the nitty-gritty,” said Lubna. “The food has to be served at certain temperatures inside the aircraft. An air-hostess or flight steward should be comfortable in whatever is given to them to wear. Perfection lies in the details.”
Students get coveted positions at airlines like Kingfisher, Go Air, Emirates and Qatar Airways.


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