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India Aviation-Skills Opportunities

India is currently the seventh largest market for civil aviation with over 187 million passengers, and is expected to overtake domestic aviation market of UK in 2024 to be the third largest, by 2040.  According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), FY22 India airports were pegged as the domestic passenger traffic to be 166.8 million, a 58.5 percent YoY increase, and international passenger traffic to be 22.1 million - a 118 percent YoY increase compared to FY2020-21. 

India’s aviation industry is expected to witness Rs. 35,000 crore ($5 billion) investment in the next four years. The Government of India (GOI) plans to invest $1.83 billion for development of airport infrastructure along with aviation navigation services by 2026. Moreover, while the world’s air travel industry is expected to annually grow between four to five percent for the next 20 years, India will grow at 6.2 percent.

Aviation Professionals Increasing Demand

Boeing’s 2021 Pilot and Technician Outlook (PTO) forecasts that the Asia-Pacific commercial aviation industry will need more than 820,000 new aviation staff by 2040, including more than 230,000 pilots, nearly 250,000 technicians, and 340,000 cabin crew members. 

By 2025, a worldwide shortfall of 34,000 commercial pilots is projected, almost 10 percent of the total workforce.  Also, with introduction of low-cost airlines in the open skies of India and Asian Region, there is an anticipated demand for thousands of qualified aviation professionals in the coming years. Domestic airlines such as Air Asia, Jet Airways, and IndiGo are to increase its hiring initiatives for years 2022 and beyond.  Tata - Air India, Vistara, Akasa and SpiceJet have ordered new aircrafts and are considering launching services in domestic and international new cities that targets the United States, Europe, and Japan.  The possible come back of Jet Airways in the Indian market will add additional recruitment opportunities.

GOI New Policies and Active Role of Director General of Civil Aviation

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the Indian governmental regulatory entity under the MoCA. DGCA vision is to endeavor to promote safe and efficient Air Transportation through regulation and proactive safety oversight system.

The Minister of State of Civil Aviation, Mr. V.K Singh recently said that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) created a liberalized flying training organizations (FTO) policy wherein the concept of airport royalty (revenue share payment by FTOs to AAI) has been abolished and land rentals are significantly rationalized.

American Flight Training Schools in India Opportunities 

The U.S. Flight Training institutes should have the proper knowledge and experience for developing professional aviators around the world.  The schools should have local specialized programs that meet local aviation authority’s requirement and should assist in license conversion process in India. 

The DGCA has officially approved 31 flying training entities. The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Akademi is run by the Central Government.  Other major private training institutes that are open to foreign collaboration includes Madhya Pradesh Flying Club, Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics Ltd, Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy, National Flying Training Institutes, Orient Flights Aviation Academy, and others.

In India, specifically in Chennai, there are opportunities in Flight Dispatcher courses.  The Telangana State wants to set up an Aviation university and to identify American/International participation.  Eastern India, mainly Kolkata, is the gateway to Northeastern states. It has multiple flight-training institutes and various aviation grooming schools.  Hyderabad has many aviation skills academies, e.g. GMR Aviation Academy.  Telengana State Aviation Academy, Pratt & Whittney India Training Center, Drone Academy, CFM South Asia Training Center, and others who lead the way with an interest in prospective, new technology partnerships. 

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have recently announced the setting up of new flight training centers mainly across five airports — Belagavi, Kalaburagi and Hubbali in Karnataka, Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, and Lilabari in Assam. 

Investment Areas

  • Turbo Prop aircraft operations (Non-Scheduled Operator)  
  • Cargo Operations 
  • Simulator Training Center for turbo prop aircraft 
  • Ground Training Center 
  • Cabin Crew/ Flight Attendant, Type specific training center 
  • MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) service center 
  • Aviation Training Center, Ground School Training with OJT training.

India’s aviation industry is set to become the third largest in the world by 2024.  India’s aviation sector is the fastest-growing market globally with the highest ratio of aircraft on order to aircraft in-service.  With this rapid growth, the industry is set to generate further demand for aviation staff such as pilots, cabin crew, management, engineers, commercial, financial, operational specialists, air traffic controllers and ground staff.

Additional factors are strong economic growth, high disposable income, increased demand for domestic tourism, favorable demographics, continued population and increased aircraft penetration show a promising future for the industry in India.

For more information, contact the U.S. Commercial Service’s India Aerospace & Defense team:

  • Raghavan Srinivasan, Commercial Officer, North India. 
  • Shamli Menon, Senior Commercial Specialist, Aerospace and Defense Team Lead
  • Arindam Sarkar, Commercial Advisor, Aerospace & Defense Team and the author of this report.