When 21-year-old Akanksha Sharma (name changed) lost her job as a flight attendant after a major airline closed down last year, she had no choice but to join a call centre in Bangalore. Six months later, she found her way back to her dream job and will soon be joining a South-East Asian airline as a cabin crew.
Thanks to the entry of new players such as the joint venture of Tata-AirAsia in the domestic aviation sector and foreign airlines forging new ties in India (Jet-Etihad), many aspiring candidates are now looking to give their careers a “flying” start.
Institutes offering courses in aviation and hospitality have seen renewed vigour in placements and many have also introduced new courses.
Faced with multiple headwinds in 2010-11, several airlines had cut jobs and stopped flights on many routes. “The aviation sector saw a dip of around 15 per cent in hiring during that period. But this year, the hiring sentiment is better,” said Samir Valia, President, Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training.
The institute has introduced two new courses this year – MBA in aviation, hospitality, travel and tourism and a three-year degree course in the same subjects. Recently, it conducted a recruitment drive in Bangalore for Tata-AirAsia, where 150 of its students were short-listed. The final letter of appointment is expected by July this year.
The entry-level monthly salary packages for cabin crew in the domestic sector range from Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 while for foreign airlines, it is between Rs 45,000 and Rs 1.3 lakh. For the ground staff, salary ranges between Rs 8,000 and Rs 15,000 for freshers. The highest salary package at Frankfinn Institute this year was Rs 1.2 lakh (monthly) offered by a foreign airline.
The course fee ranges between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2.80 lakh, depending on the duration.
“While majority of our placements happen in the domestic aviation sector, about 20 per cent of recruitments are done by international airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Yemen Airways,” Valia added.
Interestingly, many South-East Asian airlines are also looking towards India for recruitments. “Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines have conducted their recruitment drives in the recent past. Most of these airlines prefer Indian candidates as cabin crew because they cater to a large section of Indian travellers,” he said.
According to a survey by International Air Transport Association, consolidation and efficiency gains helped airlines globally increase their profitability in 2012-13, which in turn will increase employment opportunities over the next 12 months.
The last six months have been particularly good for the sector, say industry experts. “With airport expansions in many cities and the extension of routes to tier II and tier III towns and cities, jobs in ground staff for airports are looking up,” said Shrutidhar Paliwal, Vice-President, Aptech, which offers courses in aviation and hospitality, among others.
This is because, for every flight taking off, at least six to eight executives are required for departure procedures, he added.