Air India to set up Aviation University

Air India will soon be establishing an Aviation University in order to provide several programmes which can also be an additional revenue stream for it in the long term. Airline officials said that the national carrier, which is working on ways to improve its financial position, has already started exploring various options for setting up a university.

The idea is to have an institution that offers a range of aviation training programmes for pilots, cabin crew, operations and engineering staff, among others, they said.

Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said, “We want to create a world class university and make it heavily commercial.” Educational Consultants India Ltd (EdCIL) has also be approached to look at the possibility to convert its Central Training Establishment (CTE) in Hyderabad into a deemed-to-be-university.

EdCIL would be studying the viability aspects and is expected to submit a report in “two to three months”, Air India Executive Director (training) Captain Amitabh Singh said.

After going through the suggestions in the report, a final decision would be taken.

According to Singh, it would take “two to five years” to turn the Hyderabad training centre into a deemed university depending on the viability. “Any airline can utilise our resources (once the university is set up). They can also send their pilots for type rating (training for specific aircraft type),” Lohani said.

Initially, the university would offer diploma and certificate courses. In due course, degree programmes could also be offered, Singh said.

The CTE has three A320 simulators for pilot training and an ATR 72-600 simulator would be inducted in September. For the last few years, CTE has been giving training to pilots from outside of Air India also.

“We have been able to train a lot of outside pilots who get an endorsement on our A320 simulators. Later, they get jobs either with us or with other airlines,” Singh said, adding such a trend can be capitalised upon to generate additional revenues.