Though there are well-reputed institutions in India that train flight attendants, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority is still struggling to design a syllabus which caters specifically to the needs of the Pakistani aviation industry. But hopefully, the bleak circumstances might change with Pakistan Airline Pilots Association’s (PALPA) new school, the Institute of Aviation and Management Sciences.
The association’s former president, Capt. Khalid Hamza, told The Express Tribune that the country’s aviation authority had simply copied the syllabus of the United State’s Federal Aviation Administration. But things will be different at the new institute, where students will study a curriculum that has been designed to cater to the unique needs of Pakistan’s aviation industy. “The institution will generate research which can help the country’s pilots association,” said Capt. Hamza.
The inauguration of the new institute was organised on Friday at the association’s club. The school is reportedly the first private institute in the country which is dedicated to commercial avionics. The association’s president, Capt. Sohail Baluch, told The Express Tribune that the new institute is seeking affiliation with Karachi University and the first batch of around 60 students will begin their courses in September this year.
Rao Qamar Suleman, the chairperson of PIA, who was the chief guest, said that the airline was ready to extend its support to the new institution. He hoped that the institute would help enable the country become a regional hub for producing the best aviation professionals.
Dr Wali Mughni, the institute’s dean, earned his doctorate from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, United States. He told The Express Tribune that though the country’s aviation industry generates annual revenues of Rs125 billion, there are hardly any universities offering a specialisation in aviation management.
Dr Mughni added that at this point in time, when all airlines are planning to expand, the importance of good management is further accentuated. “I believe that the institute’s graduates will be able to make a difference in next five to six years,” he said, adding that the specially designed curriculum will prepare them to manage the aviation business according to the needs of the market. First Officer Erum Masood, who has been with the national airline for last four years, said, “The institute will produce graduates with a strong foundations in avionics.”
PIA to rise again?
Though PIA may currently be taking a nosedive, its chairperson, Rao Qamar Suleman, is confident that he can help pilot the organisation out of turbulent times.
“When I became the chairperson in March, I filed the company’s balance sheets for the past five years. An online consultancy firm responded by saying that the organisation should file for bankruptcy,” said Suleman. To make matters worse, on March 29 – the date he joined PIA – the airline’s chief financial officer broke the news that the airline had no money to pay salaries.
Despite all this and the fact that the government has yet to provide funds to the national airline, Suleman remained optimistic. ‘Welcome onboard, you’ve become the captain of a ship which is already sunk…but together we can rise’ were the words he was greeted with when he first stepped into the office. Since then, he has launched a programme to improve PIA and asked all of the organisation’s stakeholders to do their part.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2012.