Anuj Aggarwal, Member (HR) AAI
April - June 2017
Skill Development an Utmost Priority for AAI
Human Resources (HR) of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is on a mission to consolidate government initiatives and provide avenues to develop and enhance the skill set of its employees. Anuj Aggarwal, Member (HR) elaborates on how they plan to do so.
What changes have the recruitment and training policies of AAI undergone since the government focused on skill development?
In order to attain both economic and environmental sustainability, AAI ought to be a learning organisation. Our recruitment and training policies aim at hiring quality manpower and groom the new recruits into airport professionals through short duration, three-stage training programmes on orientation, followed by discipline-specific training, appropriate to the level. The skills of current/existing executives are also planned to be upgraded. The HR directorate has a dedicated Training and Development Cell to regularly assess training needs and plan training programmes.
Usually, airports across the world rely on technology and procedures and not as much on the skills of its personnel. What is AAI’s take on the issue?
AAI is an organisation that challenges existing technology, procedures, regulations and people skills, and focuses on transformational training of its personnel, which elevates them from their present levels of Knowledge, Skills and Attitude (KSA) to the required levels. In aviation, safety and security of passengers is of utmost importance. It is achieved through cutting age technological infrastructure supported by well-trained manpower.
What is the feedback from stakeholders on deficit in terms of knowledge gap, attitude gap and skill gap among those operating and managing airports?
Airport operation and management demands highest standards of safety, security and efficiency with high end customer experience. Considering the very high growth in aviation sector, with a high concentration of movements and a limited place available to handle operations, it is imperative to implement optimised resources. This requires a close collaboration with all stakeholders. Regular interactions with stakeholders take place at airport level, regional level and corporate headquarters level to plug all the gaps as per the feedback received.
Last year, AAI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) for scaling up skill development initiatives. What is the progress on that front?
As per the MoU, AAI is committed to providing infrastructure to NSDC and funds to NSDF for scaling up skill development initiatives at airports identified by NSDC and they are likely to set up skill development centres at two airports shortly. We are hopeful that it shall take care of skill sector requirements, especially, for changing and emerging requirements in the field of aviation. So far, Chandigarh and Visakhapatnam airports are identified for the purpose.
AAI had committed to contributing INR 52.5 million, from its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund, to the NSDF along with land and premises for setting up skill development centres in India. Please elaborate.
Yes, that is correct. AAI has committed itself to partner with NSDC for providing skill development in the field of aviation. Furthermore, AAI has also taken up the project, ‘Employment Oriented Training and Skill Development Programme for SC/ST/OBC/Women & EWS of Society’ in collaboration with Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC) for 2,000 candidates under AAI’s CSR for the year 2016-17.
What is the skill-demand gap in the various sectors of management of airports in India? How many youths do you plan to train and skill? Can you give us a time frame?
MoCA has taken up the task of bridging the skill-demand gap in aviation sector as a whole. The details can be shared once the study is complete.
New airports are being set up, old airports are being rejuvenated and ghost airports are being revived. How do you see the demand for skilled people being met in India?
The Government of India has developed an aggressive plan to promote the aviation sector. This is the first time since India’s independence that MoCA has propounded an integrated National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP). The policy reflects the intent to migrate to a more liberal administrative and regulatory regime for the aviation sector in India. As part of the new Civil Aviation Policy, Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) is the most important and integral part of the NCAP. Airports at Tier-2 and Tier- 3 cities, which are now proposed to be connected on air routes, and 50 pc seats on such routes under RCS are being subsidised by government through market and demand driven mechanism. This shall ensure that air passengers will be able to fly on these RCS routes (which cover presently unserved and underserved airports) and pay an affordable INR 2,500 for a one-hour flight.
Can you give us the break-up within the different airport operations that is likely to generate employment?
In 2016, the total number of passengers carried on scheduled air services reached 3.7 billion, which was a 6 pc increase over 2015. While the numbers are positive, this growth comes with a challenge – making sure that there are enough trained air traffic controllers, engineers and other airport professionals to meet the industry demands. Our endeavour is to ensure that sufficient competent human resources are available to support a safe, secure and sustainable air transportation system. We are continuously updating the numbers and this year, around 1,500 fresh recruits are going to be taken in to roll in the ATC, CNS, Engineering, Airport Operations, Fire, HR, Finance and several other disciplines. Furthermore, around 2,000 fresh recruits are planned to be engaged during 2017-18 and it shall be a regular exercise to recruit and train the professionals and to take care of the ever-increasing growth in civil aviation.
Thousands of aircraft maintenance engineers in the country are currently unemployed. What do you think is wrong with their training?
While this pertains to the airline industry and they may be in a better position to answer, I would like to point out that with RCS taking off, operational airports in India are likely to increase from 70 to 120 and commercial aircrafts for scheduled operations from 400 to 1,100. So, in my opinion, there will be no dearth of opportunities and employment will increase manifold.