INDIA. New Delhi: Civil Aviation Ministry, India recently said that India is set to get 8 new Flying Training Academies under the liberalised Flying Training Organisation (FTO) policy of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). These academies will be set up at five airports across the country – Belagavi, and Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, and Lilabari in Assam.
The setting-up of these 8 FTOs is aimed at making India a global flying training hub and preventing the exodus of Indian cadets from leaving the country to foreign FTOs. Additionally, these FTOs will also be designed to cater to the flying training requirements of cadets in India’s neighbouring countries, the ministry said.
Bidding process finalised
Attesting to the perseverance and determination of the team of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is the fact that they successfully managed to finalise the bidding process amid the challenging period caused due to the second wave of COVID-19. The Civil Aviation Ministry said these five airports have been carefully chosen since they have minimal disruption due to weather issues and civil/ military air traffic. “This initiative will help the Indian flying training sector in becoming more self-sustaining under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative,” a ministry statement said.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) had invited bids for the same in November 2020. The award letters were issued on 31 May 2021 to winning bidders: Asia-Pacific, Jetserve, Redbird, Samvardhane, and Skynex. The parameters set for prospective bidders included familiarisation with aviation safety aspects, regulatory mechanisms, experience in the field of training pilots on manned aircraft, the availability of equipment, trainers, etc.
To make Flying Training Organisations attractive for bidders, Airports Authority of India reduced the minimum annual rental significantly to Rs.15 lacs. Furthermore, the concept of airport royalty was scrapped to make these ventures business-friendly.