Ranchi airport that houses Jharkhand Flying Institute
The state civil aviation department plans to hand over the task of training youngsters to become commercial pilots to private companies.
Jharkhand Flying Institute in Ranchi, which boasts of two Czech-made Zlin aircraft, three gliders and one twin engine aeroplane, has received responses from six private firms whose technical qualifications are being evaluated by the civil aviation department.
“Six parties have responded to our tender to outsource the training aspect at the Jharkhand Flying Institute. We are evaluating the expression of interests, after which we will send our recommendations to the state government for a final decision,” civil aviation secretary V.K. Singh told The Telegraph.
The fleet of Zlin and gliders are gathering dust at the state hangar at Birsa Munda Airport for the last two years with the department finding it difficult to find anyone to use the facilities and provide training.
“Manpower crunch forced us to think of outsourcing the training bit. Let’s see whether the prospective agencies fulfil the mandatory norms stipulated by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as far as commercial pilot training is concerned,” said Singh.
Captain S.P. Sinha, flying in-charge at the state hangar, said all the planes and gliders were being maintained properly and all eyes were on training activities resuming at the institute, which has been lying virtually defunct.
In 2010-11, a group of 30 students from the state belonging to Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes categories was sent to Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh to pursue a pilot-training programme. The state government’s welfare and tribal welfare department had chosen Sai Flytech Aviation Private Limited at Bilaspur.
Efforts to train youths of the state to become commercial pilots have been going on for the last couple of years, with the state spending as much as Rs 18 lakh per student for the purpose.
In 2008, efforts were initiated to start a pilot training programme on public-private partnership at Jamshedpur Co-operative Flying Club, but little progress was made after the initial planning.
The state government bought two Zlin four-seater aircraft and power glider in 2006 for setting up the flying club in Ranchi in order to train tribal youths to become pilots. However, the DGCA refused to give its consent for the club, taking into account the air traffic congestion in the area.
“We also plan to come up with two more flying institutes in Dumka and Dhanbad for which we have recently invited proposals to upgrade the available facilities,” Singh added.