A passion for cricket is one reason why many Indian students prefer Australia to the USA for their training

Emerging markets such as India are proving good business for several Australian training providers, with companies promoting advantages that include the two nations' shared love of cricket.

Sydney Bankstown airport-based Basair Aviation College has been in the Indian market for six years, says managing director Darrin Ward. The company targets Indian students directly through a dedicated website, selling the benefits of training in Australia and providing help with obtaining student visas, meeting medical requirements and finding accommodation. The company has representatives in all the major Indian cities and has instructors from India and Sri Lanka.

Basair details the benefits for Indian students training in Australia: the country's commercial pilot licence is highly regarded worldwide training in is affordable and compares favourably with the USA Australia offers sophisticated airspace ideal for training and it is not too far from India with many direct flights each week.

Ward says Indian students are looking for quality training. "We are noticing that many students are now very wary of 'fast track' options offered by some providers in some countries, as airlines are finding that the quality of students being produced is quite poor," he says.

"There is a pilot shortage and the students want to make the most of the opportunity, but they must also ensure that quality of the training they are receiving," Ward adds.

India target

Based at Melbourne's Moorabbin airport, Tristar Aviation Flight Training Academy began targeting the Indian market 15 months ago, says chief flying instructor Adrianne Fleming. The academy also looked at China and the Middle East for new business, but the Indian market has produced the biggest response to date. The company targets Indian students through a website and every three months runs information seminars in India.

Tristar has a multi-year plan focusing on India and, although it has been a slow process, the company is beginning to see results now it has established a reputation in the country, says Fleming, with around 20 Indian students going through training. The company has spent some time developing suitable training, working with India's DGCA and the country's airlines to ensure it offers a "quality" course, she says.

The biggest hurdle for students from India is the Australian visa process, says Fleming, with the company losing some students to US training providers as they have been able to get a US visa more quickly.

Meanwhile, simulator operator Ansett Australia Flight Simulator Centre says attracting business from India is on the cards. The company has been focusing on Indonesia, but will target India in the near future, says Jenny Sheridan, customer liaison officer.

China was a big source of business for the centre until 2001 when the country started investing in its own simulator facilities, she says.

Source: Flight International