Jakkur Flying School faces infrastructure headwinds

March 23, 2015

Bengaluru: About 214 acres, 40 staff and three Cessnas – all for 17 students. That’s putting together two batches of aspiring pilots at the Jakkur flying school since it reopened two years ago, a far cry from a decade earlier when it had nearly 40 students in a batch.

The Government Flying Training School (GFTS) at Jakkur has trained several pilots to fly commercial jets since it was established in 1950. But poor maintenance, outdated infrastructure and a combination of longer training schedules and fewer flying hours are compelling students to opt for more expensive pilot training abroad. A commercial pilot course could cost up to Rs 1 crore in the United States, about four times the fee at local schools. Of the present lot at Jakkur, only seven are training for a commercial pilot licence – four from the 2013 batch and three from last year’s. The Karnataka government, while blaming the Union government for the Jakkur school’s plight, is finally waking up.

“The Central government has cut down our grants. With the Rs 2 crore offered to the GFTS in last year’s State budget, we are acquiring new aircraft. We are also acquiring more land to extend the runway . We are looking at an opportunity to revive the Jakkur school with better management,” Abhayachandra Jain, Karnataka minister of youth services and sports, told ET.
23/03/15 Athira Nair/Economic Times

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