Living in US? Call India as low as 4 cent per minute with Airtel
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.
Living in US? Call India as low as 4 cent per minute with Airtel
Breaking 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.”
Its not easy to be an agent only and remain an agent throughout. You need some extra toppings also, stuff like various accreditation, memberships an extra membership and another accreditation just in case you are barred from the first one. In the beginning I was thinking that only important thing for an agent is to look for a good agent workshop and that was enough for me. We were aware of the fact that too many workshops can be harmful to our business and it is not good for those institutions also who are putting too much faith on agents like us. No one likes rivals, so do our partner colleges. They do want to make very sure that their beloved agent is not dating any of their rival institutes. One of my favorite fashion school does that always . Their marketing manager Mr. Mauro Cavagnaro, an expert fashion buyers consultant also used to sniff around during the whole workshop to see if I’m talking to any of his rival fashion buyers or design schools. I never did it also because I was getting paid very handsomely and on time and I was the exclusive agent for them in whole north of India, but not anymore, well that’s the another story. Either Istituto Europeo Di Design, an Italian Fashion School and St. Patrick’s London or any of my partner college or university never asked me ever about any kind of membership or accreditation I’m having or not. Neither during the face to face meetings in some agent’s workshop, nor during signing the contract. All they needed my hard work and expertise in the field and they knew that he’s the best as long as I’m delivering. There is no doubt about it that an institution is never going to dump their beloved agent just for the sake of some sort of membership which costs Euros 200 approximately. Than why do these players are in market and why are we feeding them year after year? They are not any kind of legal authority and one is not bound or obliged to take these memberships but still they are there. I think local agents bodies of our respective countries can take care of our welfare and rights very well and they are doing a wonderful job.
I still remember my very first agent workshop in Phuket, Thailand in Oct – Nov 2004. How I barged into that website of Language Travel magazine, I still don’t remember but afterwards there was no looking back. I signed my first real contracts with many International Colleges and Universities in my first Alphe Workshop in Phuket. The Alphe Conference involves face-to-face meetings of an half an hour each between agents (who recruit and advise students) and educators (who want international students to attend their institution). If you want to meet with educators and/or agents, then Alphe should be a part of your marketing strategy. Why I personally liked the Alphe workshops instead of other bigger names is because they are really professional people. There arrangements are really remarkable and their choice of hotels, food and sightseeing packages are all up to the mark. Its bad that they’d to stop the Alphe Asia workshops used to held in Phuket but still one can go the UK, Russia, Korea and Japan and last but not least, for agents like us it is all FREE OF CHARGE!!! apart from air ticket of course…….
First of all let me clear every visitor about this Blog. Why I’d to create this particular Blog. Actually I wanted a helping hand from all of you people who are in this business since long time and by now we all have understood very well that unity is the key to success. There must not be any kind of competition between us agents. Lets share each other’s problems whether technical or personal. Share information, create a very healthy chain which can solve all kind of problems within no time, share information with blog members freely, help each other to grow in this industry and last but not least, lets make some good money out of this business! Coz……….. we are International Student Advisors for god sake!!!!!!!!!