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Capt C Kishore, Director, Arrow Aviation Solutions writes
Dear ASA Students,
At the outset I am sure those who took the Psychometric test under me for the ASA-KFA program, would remember me and my steadfast criticism of students who did not perform well. Anyways, we had severed ties with ASA after they did not renew the contract with us and inspite of that on personal requests from Hasher Khan, Reny and also their Indian Representatives (Study Abroad), I continued doing tests for 3 more months. Later realized that I was being conned and would never get paid for the tests done on the pretext that I had not released results… that’s obvious, why should I release the results unless we are assured of being paid for our services. Repeated phone calls to Hasher/Reny/Sergio yielded no result and when I did a bit of research I was sure that ASA would shut down sooner than later and I had predicted this as early as Nov’2007 after the KFA fall out. In fact I had advised a few students who were in touch with me to get out before it is too late. I was told by these students that Prince has threatened not to return the money if anyone leaves.
Just some food for thought from my visit to Atwater from 4th July to 9th July’2008. I went there on request of few parents and Study Abroad, Chennai to help students secure transfers to better flight schools and also organize a good attorney to file a law suit. Firstly my observation was that there are far too many groups of students and each group with their personal agenda on how to solve the situation, unfortunately I found most of the groups far too immature in their actions as well as long term objectives, it appeared as if they had lost focus on why they had gone to USA. I do not blame them considering the trauma they would have undergone after being evicted from the barracks and realizing that their flying dream has crash landed.
1. As Bhavna brought out, Who is “Prince”? if you just go back a few years behind you will realise that apparently he started out as a Flight Instructor in Amritsar Flying School, Punjab, where there are unconfirmed reports that he was involved in cases of fraud following which he fled to USA/Canada.
2. Can Kingfisher be indemnified from the whole scene as they play a major role in the whole deal, most of the kids joined ASA because of the KFA (Kingfisher Airlines) tie up, inspite of knowing that they were going to pay more than other flight schools. The fact lies that ASA continued to use the KFA tie up to lure new students even after the fall out. How come KFA never did a audit on a flight school they endorsed for their cadet program? Which should have been a mandatory practise in view of KFA allowing ASA to use their logo for co-branding…. this beats me totally… unless Prince had been paying KFA officials responsible for such an audit.
3. $4.4 million and counting, I am not a great finance expert, but being a Pilot and an aviation consultant with thorough knowledge on what goes into running a flight school from fuel, maintenance, aircraft lease, spares, landing charges,etc etc….I can safely say that it is next to impossible to expend such a large amount of money in such a short period of time. Well the finance experts might want to prove me wrong by putting pen to paper, yet they would fail miserably. I visited the ASA ramp in Atwater, personally and saw that there were hardly 7 or 8 airplanes on the ramp, wonder whatever happened to the 40 odd aircraft if they were actually owned by ASA. Well if they were on lease then on what did Reny/ Prince spend money on.
4. I am sorry to say but, after extensive talks with various Attorneys I can say that recovery of the money of all the students may not be possible if they file for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal Law, but still a lot depends on discovery of assets within the USA to recover the money. Knowing Prince and Reny, I am sure there is no money in USA coz I don’t think either of them is so foolish to have assets in USA and are waiting for those assets to be attached through a Court injunction. Yes, sending them behind bars maybe a probable proposition, even though it is too early to say that. So, basically there are far too many variables and let us all accept the fact that no miraculous recovery of fees paid is going to happen overnight.
5. I was told that the Indian Embassy in SFO has provided 2 attorneys who are willing to fight the law suit against ASA, without any money being paid upfront and want 40% of the money recovered as attorney fees, which I feel is ridiculous. I wonder what the hell is the Indian Embassy doing, are they trying to get the students be duped of their rightful claim of damages for what they have undergone. I would rather pay the attorney his fees and enjoy the money he recovers as damages. Because if there is money to be recovered from assets then I might as well as recover my complete money. How do we know whether there is money to be recovered, well that can only be ascertained through a thorough investigation by a competent financial investigator. Please keep in mind that this is a huge lawsuit and the claim for damages can amount to as high as $5 million upwards. even that might be an understatement. So just tread the road ahead with caution, those offering help may not actually be a knight in shining Armour.
As they always say advise is always free, whether you take it or leave it is your choice…. so here goes my two pence on this issue to all of you ASA students.
1. Those with funds crunch right now, try and organize funds enough to fund your Private at least, get your PPL and head back to India, put your head down and study, clear your DGCA papers and then re assess your finances and try and get into Indigo or Air India Express cadet program, which shall at least assure you a job in the current volatile market.
2. Those who can afford to complete their training and are not a part of the KFA cadet program, you better think about getting yourself a CFI and work towards time building before getting back to India, try getting add-on ratings on King Air B200 or a Citation CJ2, so that the chances of your enjoyability increase in Corporate sector.
3. Along with your CPL get yourself an Aviation Management Diploma from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University so that you can get placement in Airline Operations while you slowly work your way back towards the flight deck.
I wish you guys all the best in all your future endeavors and all of you are most welcome to mail me at email@example.com.
Capt C Kishore Director, Arrow Aviation Solutions