Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan
Salem airport is emerging as an ideal training centre for commercial pilots. Two leading academies have already begun preliminary operations of training their candidates.
The two academies – Southern Pilot Training Academy, Salem in association with a Bhopal-based institute and another one from Chennai – have started setting up their facilities, including hangars to keep training aircraft at the airport, which, according to a senior aerodrome officer, has all necessary infrastructure for flying training planes.
As the airport is ideally located, aviation training academies have expressed their willingness to pitch their tents here. With air traffic growing, the Director General of Civil Aviation has felt shortage of commercial pilots and hence the permission to airportsfor allowing the academies to function. Though the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has identified 28 such airports, mainly small and medium ones besides the existing larger ones, many of these training institutions have preferred to utilise the infrastructure of the small and medium airports since they are relatively free from high density traffic. The Salem airport is one such centre where just a single ATR flight from Chennai from the stables of Kingfisher Airlines is being operated now and once in a day. It is far from busy national and international air routes and has a vast stretch of less-populated area. It offers adequate space for building hangars to park aircraft. These factors offer an opportunity for an aspiring commercial pilot to log on more number of flying hours, nearly 200, in less number of days, which may not be possible in other busy airports. The Salem-based academy has a fleet of three Cessna 152 aircraft with two more in the offing. It has already started its training with 18 candidates. The Chennai-based academy will operate with five Cessnas.
Source & Pic Courtesy: THE HINDU