GETTING READY FOR MOPA CAREERS IN CIVIL AVIATION

OPPORTUNITIES: The Mopa airport is expected to generate a wide variety of jobs, both technical and administrative

Goans are smart, educated and talented, but remain woefully unemployed. Often this is due to lack of career counselling and ignorance about opportunities available. This is the second in a series of articles the GOAN OBSERVER will be publishing on career opportunities available to Goan youth

By GO Team

WITH the Mopa airport possibly due to be operational as soon as 2020, Goan youth are well placed to plan their education with employment in mind. Even apart from Mopa, Civil Aviation is a field that, although relatively not well known in Goa, is a good career to pursue.

India at present is the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world,  catering to 163 million passengers in 2013 and is expected to see 60 million international passengers by 2017. It has 85 international airlines connecting over 40 countries and is expected to become the third largest aviation market with 800 aircraft by 2020. The sector is booming, pushing the demands for professionals.  

Growth of aviation sector

IN THE next five years 300 business jets, 300 small aircraft and 250 helicopters are expected to be added to the current fleet. Government has plans to establish greenfield airports under PPP at Navi Mumbai also apart from Mopa (Goa). The AAI aims to bring around 250 airports under operation across the country by 2020, with some new airports to be set up. In the North-east region, the AAI plans to develop Guwahati as an inter-regional hub and Agartala, Imphal and Dibrugarh as intra-regional hubs.

The AAI plans to spend USD 1.3 Billion on non-metro projects between 2013 and 2017, focusing on the modernization and upgradation of airports.

This growth is sure to fuel more opportunities in this sector. Prof. PVM Rao of Mechanical Engineering  Department, IIT Delhi says, “In the last 10-15 years both passenger traffic and freight traffic has grown considerably bringing new opportunities. Aerospace manufacturing is still small in our country. Aviation industry being multidisciplinary in nature, offers career options to students with multiple specializations. Apart from Aerospace Engineering, students pursing Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Materials Engineering and many others will find opportunities in this sector.”

Job prospects

INDIA has seen considerable growth both in terms of passenger and cargo services and the aviation business is speeding up and the airline industry in the country is on the path of increasing its base. A good number of new airlines have come in to existence, giving rise to the number of flights and number and size of airports in India. Consequently it gave spurt to airline jobs in India like pilots, Flight Engineer, Aircraft Engineer, Chef, Crew, flight Attendant and Airport Services.

India would require approximately thousands of pilots and an equal number or more of cabin crew by 2020. Heavy pay packets are awaiting pilots with a commercial pilot license (CPL). Even an amateur pilot can start his career with a salary of `2.5-3 lakh a month with a commercial airline. With the sudden increase in the number of airlines, pilots are in great demand.

Aviation sector provides large number of jobs for those from different streams like science, humanities as well as Commerce. Some of the positions are Commercial pilot, Co-pilot, Air cargo pilot, cabin crew, Air Traffic Controller, Cabin safety instructor, In-flight Managers, In-flight base Managers, Cabin services instructor, Cabin crew, Training instructor, Maintenance controllers, Aircraft maintenance Engineer, Quality control Manager, Cargo officers Guest service agent, and Ground staff.

New Institutions and courses

AIR India is looking to set up an aviation university to cater to the increasing demand for aviation courses, particularly for pilots and cabin crew and has plans to start full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses. To promote aviation studies and research Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University is likely to start functioning soon at Fursatganj at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh and aims induct 1,000 students by 2018 and eventually more than 5,000. The university will facilitate and promote aviation studies, teaching, training, research and extension work with focus on emerging areas of studies such as aviation management, aviation regulation and policy, aviation science and engineering, transportation of dangerous goods and other related fields.

Evolution of aviation in India

DR HONWARD Shrihari, Vice Chancellor of UPES, says, “With India becoming the ninth largest aviation market in the world, the aviation sector growth has been spectacular, over the last decade in particular. Let us look at factors favouring Indian Aviation sector, namely low cost carriers, FDI in domestic airlines, modernization of airports, state-of-the-art IT, regional connectivity as a growing concept. The expansion or growth of civil aviation industry is to be seen by facts and figures such as 170 million passengers and 2 million-plus tonnes of cargo in 2013-14, capacity being 200 million-plus passengers and 5 million tonnes cargo etc. These figures are going to be 2-2.5 times by 2020. It is an extremely rosy picture today.”

Civil Aviation as a career

COMPETENCY in technical skills is absolutely necessary for aviation industry. Apart from this, ability to work and contribute in large multidisciplinary teams, communication skills, eye for quality, safety and reliability are all important.

As per Dr Shrihari, one must also carefully see the skill distribution of manpower requirement while choosing this as a career. “This is an important aspect where appropriate skill development efforts should take place and not train excessive manpower. But combine the figures and optimism with a desire to become a global player in developing and commercializing aerospace technologies indigenously, I am sure there are quite a few opportunities for every level and type of aviation professional. Make in India should actually improve the picture further,”  he said. Capability building has already started for manufacturing aerospace components. As per an estimate, about four hundred thousand new jobs are likely to be created in the next 5-7 years.

Prospects for professionals

GOANS PREFERRED: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has assured the state legislative assembly that bona fide Goans will be given preference in employment at the proposed international airport at Mopa. However, merit will be the primary criterion and“no compromise will be made” while staffing the top and crucial posts, as safety is primary

TODAY there are careers for technical trainees, graduate engineers and managers as well as postgraduate engineers and managers in various aspects of aircraft manufacturing and maintenance, airline managing and airport management etc. Allied fields are also getting specialized attention in aviation industry, say catering, which takes a new dimension in this industry. There are avenues for designers, fabricators, those who set up production chain, aviation medicine, avionics, management of MROs, say in supply chain, as well as strategic, materials engineers, aviation instruments and control systems engineers, Aircraft fuels and lubricants would have special requirements, safety, air traffic control, legal professionals. In fact, every professional on ground will have a specialized role in aviation field for which a special training and skill sets are required over and above their regular training.

Prof. Rao, talking about the placement scenario in civil aviation sector said, “The placements in this sector is still small, but it is expected to catch up. However, IIT Delhi alumni have been a part of all major public and private companies in aviation sector. They have also contributed extensively to aerospace research in India being a part of DRDO and ISRO.”

Things to keep in mind  

TALKING about the things students need to keep in mind Dr Shrihari said, “Students need to remember that this is an environment with ever-changing challenges, with tremendous scope for innovation and enterprise. While it can get exciting it could be a lot of hard work and no easy successes as in some other sectors. Their understanding of fundamentals coupled with ability to apply skills need to be augmented with life-long learning development and willingness to be a global student. They need to understand that this industry can only afford the best and they need to be as good if they want to remain in the industry. Accuracy, perfection etc., are business as usual in this industry. It would be tough life, but good professionals make it look easy. They obviously need to stay focused. Only the highly ambitious and highly motivated students can survive.”

Students must continuously scour the information available on aviation industry before they decide on this sector. Love of travelling or being excited about rockets can be misleading reasons to join this sector. Ambition to achieve something in life and willing to do hard work are appropriate reasons.

Courses being run at IIT Delhi

AS A part of its new curricula introduced two years back, IIT Delhi provides multiple opportunities for students to engage in design and innovative activities with strong focus on real world problems relevant to industry and society. Apart from classroom teaching and laboratory experiments, the institute has made a provision for hands-on and experiential learning and doing projects in multidisciplinary teams. Every student in IIT Delhi has to earn five units/credits of design and practical experience as a mandatory graduation requirement. For example, during last two years more than 1500 students participated in 6-hour aeromodelling workshop in a format of design-build-fly. These workshops were conducted as a part of aeromodelling club of IIT Delhi with the help of Skyfi Labs, Bangalore and support from Boeing.

FAST FACTS:

Programmes — B. Tech Aerospace Engineering, B. Sc Aircraft Management, BBA, MBA in Aviation, Aviation Management, Operations, Commercial Pilot License   

Eligibility — Science background for technical courses, Humanities stream; for technical programmes at UG level and for PG B.Tech in Mechanical, Computers, Aeronautical, Electronics & Communication, Electrical

Top Institutes — IIT’s; Hindustan University; Hindustan Academy, Bangalore; UPES, Dehradun; Ahmedabad Aviation & Aeronautics Ltd.; Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology, Thiruvananthapuram

Top Indian Recruiters — Air India, IndiGo, GoAir, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, BlueDart India, Airport Authority of India, TATA SIA Airlines, DRDO, ISRO

 

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