Flying high on the wings of dreams

CAREER

Even as a small child, Jerusha  De’Cozta used to look up and watch the aircraft trail the blue sky with dreamy eyes. “It has been my vision of an ideal career,” Jerusha, now an 18-year-old girl, said.

“To fly and to be part of the cabin crew. To travel across the country, possibly across the globe, has been something I always fantasised about. I’m all excited to be doing a course that would prepare me for it.”

Jerusha is one of nearly 100 students at Frankfinn Air Hostess Training School who are in the middle of their training to enter India’s airlines industry, which is showing signs of a faster growth in recent months.

The country’s largest airline in terms of market share — IndiGo — ordered 180 planes from  Airbus, considered the single biggest purchase for commercial jets in aviation history. SpiceJet has also placed an order for 30 Boeing jets and 30 turboprop aircrafts from Bombardier Inc.

With new airports coming up in several cities, air traffic in the country is expected to grow by 15 per cent in the next five years and by 8.5 per cent per year in the next 20 years, creating jobs in the sector by thousands.

“Actually, it is harder for training institutes like us to meet the increasing manpower demand,” said Abhishek Singh, Branch Head, Frankfinn Institute in Bangalore, who hastened to correct that the institute is not merely preparing candidates for an air hostess’ job.

“The demand is across the board – from ground handling staff and air hostesses to cargo management, there’s a need in virtually every aspect of the industry. We train people for all these jobs. If one is not getting a break as an air hostess, she can always consider the other options, which are equally attractive.”

While those succeeding in getting placed can actually see their careers soaring through the clouds, demands of the job would also mean that they have to be highly skilled.
More than being glamorous, air hostesses need to be pleasant and courteous to the passengers and fly for long hours fighting tiredness to ensure success, say training institutes who are doing brisk business following the increasing demand for manpower in the airline industry.

Indeed, training schools who prepare students to enter the well-paid industry are reporting an increase in the number of enquiries for airlines-related jobs both from graduates and intermediates.

Air hostess jobs was once thought to be the natural domain of girls with good looks and the ability to speak English well. However, it is also becoming possible for those from moderate backgrounds with training available at the schools. “It’s a myth that girls have to be extremely good looking and must be from an English medium background,” said Alifiya Roshan, Branch Head, Flying Cats, another training institute which offers a wide range of airline courses.

 “Looks and language certainly add to the appeal, but even otherwise we can train any girl with the right qualification to improve her personality and try for an air hostess’ job. Of course, our training covers the entire gamut of airline jobs.”

A course in basic English, personality development lessons and finer levels of training in grooming and presentation are some of the aspects in which the schools seem to focus.
“If people meet the essential requirements and feel that an airline job is not for them… I mean if confidence is their problem, we take care of it,” Abhishek said.

Institutes usually run courses separately for graduates and non-graduates, with the  latter group spending a longer time imbibing the nuances of the job. Typically, graduates take up three to six month courses, while non-graduates spend up to 12 months.

Many institutes have also added training that are mandatory to work with international airlines such as swimming. They also cover aspects of hospitality industries enabling students to stand a chance for placements in the sector, which is growing along with the airline industry.

“We cover first aid, emergency procedures, passenger handling, cargo management, reservation system and fire safety measures. Our courses are well-researched to cover practically everything big airlines and hospitality industries look for,” Abhishek said.
Flying Cats also offers a course in BBA covering the larger aspects of management and administration, which is certified by Annamalai University. “A degree always carries greater value and would certainly stand aspirants in good stead in getting a suitable job,” Alifiya Roshan said.

The institutes also get some of their courses accredited by international bodies adding more authenticity to their programmes and training methods.
Though courses may cost nearly Rs 1,00,000 depending on the length of time and the kind of things students want to learn, a few like Frankfinn also offer the choice of paying the money in instalments.

One of the ways these institutes attract students to the courses is through career seminars they hold in schools and colleges across the city. Students who show slight hopes of pursuing airline careers are shown the opportunities and the salaries the jobs can fetch.

They say a fresher can earn anything between Rs 16,000 to Rs 25,000 in the domestic sector depending on their work roster, while international airlines would pay more than Rs 50,000 to 60,000.

“Typically, candidates who get through job interviews at the domestic sector would like to spend about two or three years learning the job and then trying for international airlines,” Alifiya Roshan pointed out.

Though the institutes do not guarantee jobs for students, those like Frankfinn have arrangements with domestic and international carriers for campus recruitments.
Even without it, institutes say that students showing promise do not have any difficulty in finding jobs in the sector. So most institutes boast of nearly 90 per cent placements of their students.

The following are some institutes in Bangalore offering training for an air hostess’ job

*Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training Bangalore:
B-16-18, Gem Plaza, 66 Infantry Road,
Bangalore- 560001.
Ph: 080-41130665 / 667

*Air Hostess Academy Bangalore
144/1, Shubharamb Complex, 1st Floor,
Next to ING Vysya Bank, M G Road,
Bangalore-560001.
Ph: 080-30578222/27-29

*Flying Cats
Complete Airhostess Training School Bangalore
4th Floor, Farah Towers, No 83,
M G Road, Bangalore - 560001
Ph: 080-41499090

*Vogue Aviation Academy,
Football stadium complex,
Opp. Garuda Mall,
McGrath Road, Bangalore 560025.

*Avalon Academy,
No. 149, 2nd floor,
Above KFC,
32nd Cross, 11th Main Road,
Jayanagar 4th Block,
Bangalore - 560 011

Tips for aspirants

*Communication skills: Talking politely and pleasantly to passengers, providing clear cut instructions and constantly enquiring about their needs, require good communication skills. Aspirants must work on it intensely.

*Good grasp of general happenings: Learning about the latest happenings is one way of winning the confidence and approval of your passengers. It is easier to engage people into a conversation and impress them, while also attending to their needs. A sign of smartness.

*Good personal care: This includes having a good dress sense, pleasant manners and general good maintenance such as keeping the hair neat and straight, using elegant make up, etc.

*Ability to serve: Though passenger handling will be taught, it is important that aspirants have patience and the willingness to serve. A greater level of understanding the issue rather than emotionally reacting to situations, if possessed naturally by aspirants, would greatly help them prepare themselves for the actual job.

*Having the right qualifications: People who otherwise find themselves up to the job may still lose out without the right qualifications. Though pre-university or higher secondary may be good, having a degree would be an advantage.

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