Air Hostess Training institutes in India faces tough competition from US Technical Schools

The boom in the India’s aviation sector that begun a few years ago resulted in institutes for training of cabin crew and others wishing to enter the aviation industry had mushroomed all over the country.

Students paid lakhs of rupees as fees for the training they received at these institutes.

But the financial crisis affecting the civil aviation sector in the past few months and whole drama of sacking & than reinstating of 1900 flight attendants by India’s largest private airline have shattered public confidence in the career prospects of cabin crew.

Most of the students are now enrolling themselves to technical schools in US to safeguard their careers. Most of the Technical Schools in US are highly job oriented resources for local as well as foreign students.

In fact, a few months ago, the UB Group that operates Kingfisher Airlines had unveiled an ambitious country-wide plan to open training academy centres for hiring cabin crew in more than 10 cities across India. But on Wednesday, the aviation sector was left shell-shocked.

A Kingfisher Airline official told SecondCity, “The financial mess that the airline industry is in bound to have an adverse affect on the institutes training young people for the hospitality industry including cabin crew. The current scenario is indeed very uncertain and one can only hope that the aviation sector bounces back in due course.” A functionary of the Frankfinn Institute of air-hostess training expressed optimism even in the current bleak scenario.

Aspiring air hostesses have paid anything between Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 lakh for a one-year course. Though Jet has taken back the sacked employees, training authorities have warned students to consider other options. “We have told our students to also look at tourism or hotels. Otherwise, they may have to sit at home for at least the next six months,” one of the air hostess training institute’s spokesman revealed.

Frankfinn training institute, which has many centres in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and other major cities of North India mainly with more than 15000 students on its roll, has also been feeling the heat of slow down since August 2008.

“In August, 10 of our students were recruited by Kingfisher Airlines. But after that recruitments by domestic carriers were frozen,” said Atin Banerjee, business development manager (East), Frankfinn training institute.

According to an aspiring airhostess at Frankfinn, students can definitely opt for tourism sector. But none of the other sectors match the pay of aviation.

“The students who are aspiring for aviation sector jobs can try when the situation will improve,” said Amrita Shome of Airhostess Academy (AHA) in Calcutta.

Most of the training institutes have already started counselling their students to take up jobs in other sectors.

The forthcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games and the burgeoning number of airports in the country are the reasons why air-crew training institutes do not seem anxious about their students’ future.

Samir Valia, Vice-President, corporate communications, Frankfinn Institute of Airhostess Training, says mergers and acquisitions are good news for the industry in the long term. “The airlines may not be hiring a lot of staff at present, but the worst seems to be over now. As far as long term job prospects goes, the aviation and hospitality industry is definitely on the upward curve,” he says.

The same seems to be the view of Sapna Gupta, founder and director of the Air Hostess Academy (AHA). She says the lean phase is a passing occurrence. “Layoffs are a result of short-term losses. The economic situation should be solved in the next couple of months and the aviation and hospitality sector will witness growth again,” she says.

Kuku S Kumar of TMI Academy, also reiterates that staff reorganisation is good for her students. “The airlines will probably take on new staff now. With the increase in the number of airports in the country and the slated expansion of airlines to foreign shores, there is no need to fear a slump.”

The Students of the various academies are showing a similar attitude. Natasha, a student of Frankfinn seems confident that good students would now get job opportunities faster. “The airlines will probably take fresh recruits now because they work at lower salaries. This works out to be financially viable for them and also gives us better opportunities.”

Natasha has completed four months of the year-long course at Frankfinn. “By the time we finish, they’ll be hiring more people,” she says confidently.

Gaurav Arora, a student of AHA, however, has a more cautious take on the subject. “Since we are witnessing a financial slump at present, there will now be lesser number of opportunities for students who have not done so well in their studies. Only the top few will get jobs easily. This will create problems for weaker students,” he says.

Academies remain optimistic, insisting things can only go upwards from rock-bottom which they believe aviation in India has hit, and would like to believe things will return back to normal in the next 3 to 6 months but it seems very difficult because number of students are dropping out of these institutes and enrolments in Technical schools of US is going up

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Quarter of stranded XL tourists return as new travel firm shuts

THE travel industry was plunged into more chaos yesterday with the collapse of another tour company and the future of a major airline plunged into doubt. The Civil Aviation Authority revealed that Turkey specialist K&S Travel – which also operates as Travel Turkey – had ceased trading, stranding about 150 customers in Bodrum. They will be repatriated by the CAA because the north London tour firm was covered by the ATOL protection scheme.

In Rome the Italian government was last night in crisis talks trying to find a way to save flagship airline Alitalia.
There are fears it will have to ground flights today because of a lack of fuel.

Meanwhile, the £20million operation to bring home nearly 100,000 victims of Friday’s collapse of XL Leisure Group continued. At airports around the world, the CAA managed to organise 94 flights which will bring back 22,090 of the stranded tourists.It plans to bring home the rest of those booked through XL travel companies – who had ATOL cover – over the next fortnight as their holidays come to an end.

But about 10,000 tourists who booked direct with grounded XL Airways will have to pay the CAA hundreds of pounds for their flights home because they are not covered by ATOL. Worst effected areas are Greek Islands which are very famous amongst Britons as tourist destination.

Large number of British Tourists are reported to be stranded in Greek islands of Corfu, Crete, Santorini, Kos, Kefalonia, Rhodes.

Another 200,000 XL customers have lost holidays already booked, with about 20,000 of them having no cover.

The travel industry and airlines were also accused of profiteering from XL’s demise by cashing in on tourists trying to save holidays booked in advance.

One XL Airways customer, who asked not to be named, said she had tried to find flights to Holidays to Kefalonia where she still has a hotel reservation – and within an hour air fares had doubled. Her dream Holidays to Greece became nightmare since than as everything went out of budget by latest developments.

The latest quote from another operator would see them forking out an extra £1,800 on top of the £3,413 already paid.

But Gavin Leach, 31, and his fiancee Shian Llwyarch, 29, who feared their £70,000 wedding at Disney World, Florida, was ruined by the XL collapse, were celebrating yesterday after salvaging their trip. Thomas Cook offered to honour the bookings. XL announced on Friday it had called in administrators, blaming high fuel prices and a worsening economy for its demise.

But accountancy firm KPMG claimed it had been blocked from investigating alleged misrepresentations by “certain directors” that could have led to “material errors” in company reports.

British Airways boss Willie Walsh has predicted another 30 airlines will go under in the next four months. And yesterday analyst Douglas McNeill, of merchant bank Blue Oar Securities, said the aviation industry was contracting at the same rate as after the 9/11 terror attacks.

He added: “Sadly there are likely to be more insolvencies plus a decade’s worth of mergers in the next 12 months.”

What One Pilot Would Really Like to Say from the Cockpit

“Before we take off, I would like to apologize on behalf of this and every airline for the hassle you just endured at the security checkpoint. As is patently obvious to any reasonable person, the humiliating shoe removals, liquids ban, and pointy-object confiscations do little to make us safer….”

Pilot Patrick Smith explains why the airline industry is on overload.

Welcome aboard. Our flying time this afternoon, not counting ground delays and holding patterns, will be two hours and thirty minutes.

Before we take off, I would like to apologize on behalf of this and every airline for the hassle you just endured at the security checkpoint. As is patently obvious to any reasonable person, the humiliating shoe removals, liquids ban, and pointy-object confiscations do little to make us safer.
Unfortunately, the government insists that security theater, and not actual security, is in the nation’s best interest. If it makes you feel any better, our crew had to endure the same screening as the passengers. Never mind that the baggage loaders, cleaners, caterers, and refuelers receive only occasional random screening. You can rest easy knowing that I do not have a pair of scissors or an oversize shampoo bottle anywhere in my carry-on luggage.

Just a moment.

Okay, well, as expected, we’ve received word of a ground stop. Our new estimated departure time is 90 minutes from now, subject to change arbitrarily, without warning.

And while we’re waiting, let me explain that these sorts of delays (and it’s not your imagination — late arrivals and departures have doubled since 1995) result not only from our antiquated air traffic control system but also from too many planes flying into and out of overcrowded airports. Passengers demand frequency-you want lots of flights flying to lots of cities. But this can be self-defeating, because many of these flights will be late — in some cases, very late. At airports near major cities like New York and Washington, D.C., the proliferation of small jets has added to the congestion. They make up nearly 50 percent of planes at some of our busiest airports yet carry only a fraction of overall passengers. This inefficient use of air and ground space is one reason we will be sitting here for the next hour and a half.

Once we’re airborne, flight attendants will be coming around with food and beverages for sale. I know many of you are irritated that an in-flight meal now costs $7 — on top of the $25 you just paid for an extra checked bag. Unfortunately, with oil prices skyrocketing and jets requiring as much fuel as ever (a coast-to-coast flight takes 8,000 gallons), it’s impossible for us to provide luxurious service and rock-bottom fares at the same time. We know that most of you are miserable and that you long ago learned to despise every aspect of air travel. But try, if you can, not to take your frustrations out on other passengers or the crew. The overall surly vibe is unpleasant for us too. And ridiculous as this might sound, look on the bright side.

Yes, there is a bright side: more choices and surprisingly reasonable fares. Domestically, you can now fly between almost any two airports in the country with, at worst, a single stopover. Internationally, transoceanic routes have fragmented, allowing people to fly direct from smaller hubs in the United States to points in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere. Nobody enjoys holding patterns or sitting on a tarmac, but in earlier days, the overall journey would have taken longer-and cost more.

It’s true that fares have risen sharply of late, but if they seem especially pricey, that’s partly because they remained so cheap for so long, with many carriers selling tickets below cost. Fares in 2006 were averaging 12 percent lower than in 2000, despite a 150 percent rise in jet-fuel costs.

Current fares cost about what they did in the 1980s. And let’s not forget that flying is much safer than it was in the past. Globally, there are twice as many planes carrying twice as many people as there were a quarter century ago. Although the raw total of crashes has risen, accidents are way down as a percentage of total flights.

I am well aware that airlines have become pariahs of the postindustrial economy. But it’s rarely acknowledged that despite recurrent fiscal crises, major staffing and technology problems, and constant criticism from the public, our carriers have managed to maintain a mostly reliable, affordable, and safe transportation system.

Hang in there, and our crew will let you know if and when our plane might actually take off. In the meantime, those $7 sandwiches are actually pretty good.