Flying into boom
Nepal may soon have its own pilot training schools. That day is not far when aspiring pilots will not have to go abroad to enrol themselves in a pilot training course because the training can be possible within the country itself. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is all set to introduce the regulation named Nepal Flying School Requirements (NFSR) under which licences will be issued to students, instructors and sport aviation pilots, air transporters as well as flight dispatchers who are not pilots. CAAN authorities have already endorsed the NFSR and the regulations will come into effect after the final endorsement. Nepal is known for cheap and unskilled manpower. But once the flying schools come into operation and start churning out a workforce of trained pilots, even Nepali men and women can then think of catering to the needs of foreign airlines. At present, 10 Nepali pilots are working in India while 15 are serving in Gulf-based airlines and in far off locations like South Africa and Papua New Guinea. One immediate job market can be seen in those South East Asia and Gulf countries that are facing an acute shortage of pilots after many of them chose to work in India.
Given the benefits of training, the government would do well to recognise the risk factor. This calls for strict monitoring of such schools as the lives of hundreds of passengers would be at stake if incompetent people were allowed to man the cockpit. Enrolment of students on the basis of mere family background, connections, and wealth should not be allowed to overwhelm the training programme of such schools. Merit must be the sole criterion. Meanwhile, Nepal should make all efforts to ensure that its products are saleable all over the world. Sound pilot training could be one of the ways in which Nepal could benefit immensely from the global aviation boom.