Friday, March 05, 2010

A doubtful Ratan Lal Bhagat questions their future...

With negative demand for cabin crews, diversifying into provision of other training courses seem the sole route to survival for cabin crew training institutes.

“I have wasted both time and money by enrolling into this course, as I am still waiting to be placed and looking at the deteriorating situation of the airline sector, I am not very hopeful,” says a disgusted Simran Mehta, an aspiring air hostess, whose flying dreams have been grounded, like those of many others, with the failing financial health of the domestic aviation sector over the past two years. Clearly, the domestic airline sector is going through its worst phase ever in modern years and the domestic aviators are being forced to cut down costs (and therefore manpower count) to stay afloat. As technical staff and pilots cannot be done away with easily, the cabin crew have become the soft targets. The sight of Jet Airways cabin crews taking the street in October last year, in protest of the management decision to lay them off is still fresh in the minds of many. And if you thought that was a phenomenon far too impossible in the present times, the truth is - it is as prevalent! And all this put together have badly affected many air hostess training institutes around the country, whose businesses have literally hit the wall.

Over the last three years, prior to the sectoral crash, a plethora of such training institutes had mushroomed across the length and breadth of the country. Nearly 35 to 40 institutes with as many as 110 branches had spread their wings to fulfill the flying dreams of many aspirants. But failing to cope with the demand-supply mismatch, along with many students opting for better and more fruitful avenues, a number of them have been forced to close down shops. Flying Cats is no more, while the Air Hostess Academy (AHA) has closed down many centres.

Even Frankfinn, which operates through 110 centres and claims to have placed the maximum in the cabin crew business is facing the heat as K. S. Kohli, Chairman, Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training worringly states, “We have registered a 10 to 15% decline in the number of new admission in the past two years. The bad financial state of the airlines and their rumoured retrenchment measures through reduction in the number of crew members per flight has developed wrong sentiments, thus affecting overall footfalls in the training centres...” A worse decline (about 25-30%) in the number of new admissions have been registered by many other such institutes. Even renowned names like Kingfisher Airlines promoted Kingfisher Training Academy, Maples, et al, are finding it tough to sustain during such trying times. In the face of such a predicament, the question is – what are the survival measures that are being adopted by these training institutes?

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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