Stranded Indian Medical students in China are being flown home by Air India

Dozens of Indian medical students who have been stranded in China after buying fake air tickets are being flown home, officials from Air India say.

The airline flew 12 of the students back to India on Monday.

Many students returning to India on holiday were left stranded in Beijing and other parts of China after they learnt their tickets were bogus.

Indian papers reported on Monday that the students were allegedly duped by a Bangladeshi travel agent.

The papers said that one of the students had filed a complaint with the Beijing police.

According to a press release by Air India the airline would bring all the students back to India in the next two to three days.

“We have been approached by at least 30 students so far who are being brought back to India on regular flights from Beijing,” said Prasad Rao, spokesman from Air India.

On Sunday Emirates Airways and Malaysian Airlines were reported not to have accepted the students’ e-tickets on the grounds that they were fake. They were prevented from boarding their flights.

Air India says more than 15 students are flying back on Tuesday and a batch of 20 will be put on a flight to India on Wednesday.

Mr Rao said they were giving priority to the stranded students but he said they were helping only those who were coming forward for help.

He clarified that the travel was not free and students were paying $631 (27,000 rupees) each, which is 15% less than the fares charged by other airlines.

Hundreds of Indian students travel to China and Russia to study medicine rather than sit stringent entrance tests in India.

Most of the students were studying in specialized ultrasound school. Being highly demanding carrier, ultrasound school are very much in demand all over the world.

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Bangladeshi Travel Agent duped 154 Indian Medical Students in China

Chinese police have sealed the house of an absconding Bangladeshi agent, accused of duping 154 Indian medical students by selling them fake tickets for flights to India.

Indian embassy officials had requested the police to investigate the case after the students studying in Chongqing, Nanjing and Suzhou medical universities who had booked E-tickets through the agent Mohammed Jabbar Miyan for Emirates and Malaysian airlines were turned back at the airport.

The students, several of whom knew Miyan, were to return home to India for summer vacation to Hyderabad from Shanghai, Chongqing and Suzhou.

They had booked the tickets attracted by cheap fares and transferred the money to the account of Miyan, who is now absconding, sources said. The Bangladesh embassy said there was no record in the Bangladeshi community list to confirm the existence of Miyan.

Sources at the Indian embassy said they have written to the police to investigate the case.

Miyan’s residence had been sealed. The police had also been requested to take measures for freezing the bank accounts of Miyan, they said.

The Emirates and Malaysian airlines had also been contacted seeking information, they said.

A group of students who had booked tickets through the same agent had left but the problem surfaced on July 11 when another batch of 34 was refused boarding pass in shanghai in eastern China by the Emirates airlines whose staff told them that they need to produce credit cards.

The agent had booked the tickets with his card but the money had not reached the emirates airlines. Officials at the Indian embassy and the consulate in shanghai were in touch with the Emirates and Malaysian airlines on the issue.

Air India had been requested to accommodate the students on a priority basis to facilitate the travel of students for vacation after the final exams, they said.

According to sources, out of 154 students, 20 had reached India and nine others managed to get the refund, while the rest are struggling to make the trip and get their money back.

Over 7,000 Indian medical students are studying in Chinese universities.

Recovery may not be possible if Prince & Reny file for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal Law, feels Capt C Kishore

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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 kishore@arrowaviationsolutions.com.

Happy Landings

Capt C Kishore   Director, Arrow Aviation Solutions

American School of Aviation became biggest aviation scam of our times


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This whole issue of American School of Aviation has become such an important issue for all of us in travel industry that we cannot just let it go. I was most concerned by the reports being published in American media which are very disturbing. According to some dropouts and current students of ASA which are right now hanging out in USA, this whole school is turning out to be one of the biggest scam in aviation history of USA and one of the biggest damage ever done to the Indian students by their own countrymen Manpreet ‘Prince’ Singh. With all due respect to all of you guys and gals who successfully completed your training from Amercan School of Aviation, I’m not sure whether you’ll be allow to fly in coming days as there are complaints which are suggesting that pilots were not given anough time in air.

Amarnadh Kachepalli, a 26-year-old student from Andhra Pradesh, a state in India, left the school in March after three months because he only spent one hour in the sky training.

“There’s no education at all,” he said. “There’s no flying.”

Kachepalli said he believes he should have recorded about 80 hours in that time. School officials assured him that he could earn his pilot’s license in six to eight months, he said.

Each student needs to spend about 200 hours in the sky and the same amount on the ground to qualify for license, Kachepalli said. Most of the early coursework is done in the classroom.

A commercial license typically requires a year’s worth of training, he said.

Kachepalli has been contacting various local, state and federal agencies as well as the Indian Consulate to see if they can force the school to return about $52,000, which includes his tuition, living expenses and the cost to transfer to a different school.

He holds a master’s in business administration and said he left his job working for a hospital to come to America for a year.

ASA is also being sued for $56,000 in unpaid fuel bills.

Gemini Flight Support, which sells gasoline at the former Air Force base, filed a complaint Thursday in Merced County Superior Court against American School of Aviation.

It alleges that a $24,400 check from the school bounced May 19 due to insufficient funds. ASA also has about $32,000 in outstanding invoices, according to the complaint.

“A check of this size being returned is more than what we can bear,” Gemini Flight Support vice president Jim Price said. “Given the price of fuel, we just absolutely can’t afford to carry that kind of a debt load.”

The flight school will also be investigated to see whether it was an accounting error or if the company knew the check would bounce, said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.

The court case is among the recent issues with the flight school, which primarily trains foreign students, often from India, to become commercial pilots. It’s been at Castle Commerce Center since 2005.

County officials grounded its flights earlier this month because the school no longer had a valid insurance policy, and Merced city leaders found that ASA was using its airport as makeshift training ground without a necessary business license.

Also, a few students have been demanding that their tuition be returned because they’re unsatisfied with the amount of time they spent in the sky. A couple of others have won small claims against the school.

Last month, a judge awarded student Shailendra Kapoor $7,500 for breach of contract and emotional stress, according to Merced court records. Tuition for a pilot’s license can run about $40,000.

ASA president Manpreet Singh, who typically goes by Prince Singh, only responded by e-mail. He was served with a copy of the lawsuit late in the day and didn’t respond for comment about the civil case.

Earlier in the day, he wrote that about 5 percent of the students are unhappy or drop out because their learning style doesn’t match up with the American School of Aviation’s standards.

“And this is quite normal and expected,” he wrote.

The business is in the middle of a restructuring so it can train more students. It’s preparing to move to a larger building at the former U.S. Air Force base. By August, Singh hopes to train about 300 students at a time.

County spokesman Mark Hendrickson said Castle managers grounded the school’s flights May 15 when they learned the business’ insurance policy had lapsed.

The county could have been held liable had any of the flights crashed. The ban was lifted Thursday when the school showed Castle officials that it had a new insurance policy, Hendrickson said.

Prince  Singh denied that the county ever grounded the school’s flights. The school’s planes were spotted at Merced Municipal Airport last week in the midst of the county’s flying ban. The city airfield was being used as a makeshift school until Thursday, city spokesman Mike Conway said. Airport officials were unsuccessful in contacting the school’s managers.

ASA was operating without a business license, Conway said, which amounts to a misdemeanor. The city’s evaluating whether to call for an investigation. Stan Thurston, Gemini’s president, said he heard from a school manager that it was going to suspend its operation until next week. He won’t be selling the school any gasoline until the court case ends, either by a judge’s decision or when the school pays its outstanding bills.

California ‘Prince’ dupes aspiring pilots. Students evicted from their accommodation.


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This is a follow up of my last post, More than 100 Indian Students Stranded in USA due to Aviation School shutdown.The students, who shelled out about $40,000 each in the hope of finding jobs as pilots in India’s booming civil aviation industry, were evicted from their accommodation yesterday after officials in Merced County — where the school is located — pleaded their inability to continue water and electricity supplies to the building unless the school settled outstanding utility bills. Students, predominantly here on visas from India, learned of the pending action from notices posted on their doors at Castle Commerce Center by Merced County officials Wednesday morning. They immediately reacted with anger and disillusionment. Later in the day, a group of about 40 students formed in the apartment’s hallway, shouting and talking over each other. Officials of the Indian consulate general in San Francisco, who rushed to Merced County in response to pleas from the students, negotiated with local officials who agreed on Thursday to allow the students to stay in their accommodations for 30 more days if they shelled out $7,000 in part payment of outstanding utility bills. The students said they initially agreed to the offer, but later went back on it after a consensus that they saw little point in throwing good money after bad and that it was better to cut their already substantial losses. About 30 of the students have taken up an offer from “Prince” Singh, who runs the school’s day-to-day affairs, to have them enrolled in another flying school in California. They left with Singh for Sacramento yesterday, but the remaining 70-plus Indian students turned down the offer ostensibly because they have no faith in him after their bitter experience with his American School of Aviation. In addition to the Indians, Japanese, Sri Lankans and even American students are in the same boat. “Prince” Singh, whose real name is Manpreet Singh, has been described in the local media as the husband of Reny Kozman, vice-president of the American School of Aviation. Reny Kozman, the vice president of the school, answered my phone call, but declined to respond to questions about the bill and then hung up. ASA also is being sued for $52,000 in unpaid fuel bills and has numerous former students trying to get tuition refunds. Kozman and her husband, Manpreet Singh, have said that they are trying to sell the business to save it from going bankrupt. Efforts to verify Singh’s current nationality or immigration status in the US were unsuccessful. The school’s website displays logos of Air India, Indian, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Spicejet and Kingfisher Airlines, among others, giving the impression that these airlines in India have an association with the American School of Aviation but at the bottom it is cleverly mentioned that “by displaying these registered trademarks and service marks, does not imply any affiliation with these airlines nor implies that graduation from American School of Aviation guarantees employment by these airlines. Past results are not indicative of future performance.”

Each student has a story to tell about coming to American School of Aviation to fulfill their dreams. Each one appears to be ending the same way. The majority of them came to the school from India and paid about $41,000 in tuition to get a commercial pilot certification. Some relied on rich parents, others saved and the rest took out bank loans.

More than 100 Indian Students Stranded in USA due to Aviation School shutdown


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A file photo of Flight Instructors of American School of Aviation, Atwater, CABreaking news is coming from California this hour where more than 100 Indian students training to be pilots have been left stranded after their Aviation Academy (American School of Aviation) abruptly shut-down. One of the student emailed me last night with all the details. The students have been served with an eviction notice and asked to vacate the Academy premises by Friday (June 27).

The students were part of a Commercial Pilot Training Programme, jointly run by Kingfisher Airlines and American School of Aviation or ASA. Students claimed they paid 46,000 dollars for the programme.

Following which the students were handed a letter of intent by Kingfisher Airlines in India offering them jobs as co-pilots on completing training with ASA and getting their CPL (Commercial Pilot License) License and subsequent conversion from the DGCA India (Directorate General of Civil Aviation).

However, the school suddenly suspended its flight training last month, claiming their school was being restructured. Students were later told the school had been shut down for defaulting in payments over fuel and insurance bills.

Email further said, “We are students of the American school of Aviation. Our school has been closed for the past six weeks. The management has tried to keep us satisfied by telling us there is a deal going through in order to get the school brought over. But now it turns out none of it is true. They have been just keeping us on hold and today issued a notice telling us to evacuate the academy in the next two days due to the non payment of water and electricity bills.”

A disheartened Dmello (Indian Student) added, “There have been a lot of false promises and we are helpless and have no where to go. We are looking forward to external support from the Indian Embassy and the Indian government. We spoke to Kingfisher and they said that they are looking into the case and are trying their level best to resolve issues.”