May 12, 2012: Indian aviation sector now contributes 0.5 % to India’s GDP and there are 1.7 million people working in this sector. According to a projection made by World Travel & Tourism council, there is a heavy potential in the travel & tourism sector and this sector will be contributing more than USD 220 billion which is approximately 5% of India’s total GDP. It is estimated that by 2021, 47 million jobs will be created in this sector which will be 8.1% of the total employment in India.
Indian aviation industry has presently been passing through very turbulent times and it is said to hit an air pocket. This industry which has 6 main operators has suffered a staggering combined loss of USD 2 Billion for the year ending March 31st, 2012. The industry has been continuously suffering losses since 2004 and the total loss is estimated to be USD 8 Billion.
The only airline which has been able to keep its head high and reported a surplus is the no frills airline, Indigo. Kingfisher and Air India have been the operators who are having maximum losses. Kingfisher is looking for a bail out and even after Government has come out with a bailout package for Air India, it is still struggling. Air India owes Rs. 124 crore as salaries to its employees and the present ongoing strike of its pilots demanding change in promotion policy is adding to its woes.
The worst sufferers in this period of turmoil have been the frequent fliers who have to face cancellation and rescheduling of flights and the young aspirants who have all along dreamt of becoming a pilot. There are many who were looking for a career in the aviation sector as pilots when the sector was on a roll. These aspiring pilots have taken huge loans to fund their education and once they finished the course, they are now in a situation where the demand for pilots has gone down.
These pilots are now looking for jobs in call centres. Some of them have spent more than Rs. 20 lakh to get a pilot license and now they are working in call centres for a meagre salary of Rs. 10,000-15,000. This salary which they get in these call centres is not even enough to pay their EMI’s for the loan they have taken. These qualified commercial air pilots are in demand in call centers because of their training. These pilots are found to have a very polished approach with good communication skill along with good English proficiency. They are mainly hired in voice based call centers. Indian BPO’s may welcome this as they were struggling to get good resources.
As it was reported, India is losing to Philippines and China in voice based BPO services and this new trend among aspiring pilots to look out for jobs in call centers may help Indian BPO’s to revive their position in voice based BPO market.