To boost the employability of aircraft maintenance engineers, the country's aviation watchdog DGCA plans to take a slew of measures such as a shorter licence procedure, frequent eligibility tests and lower examination fees.
Speaking at an event today, Director General of Civil Aviation B S Bhullar said that following several representations, the aviation watchdog has proposed to the Ministry of Civil Aviation that examination fees for aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) be reduced.
In response, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said, "We are examining it. We will definitely ensure some relief."
Sinha was addressing an open house discussion on enhancing the employability of aircraft maintenance engineers.
The AME trainees passing out from the DGCA-approved AME training institute have to pass as many as 11 modules, and each of these carry an examination fee of Rs 2,500, according to a participant who sought to draw the attention of the authorities to the "exorbitant" fees being charged.
J S Rawat, Joint Director General of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), also said that these exams, which are currently held thrice a year, would be held more frequently, adding that the "ultimate plan" is to have on- demand exams for aircraft technicians as well as pilots.
He also said that measures have been taken to reduce work experience criterion from five years to two years to acquire type-A licence (for AMEs) and for more advanced licences from seven years to four years so that there are more licenced personnel in a shorter time.
According to management consulting firm IMaCS's Comprehensive Skill Gap Report, 72,900 technicians and AMEs will be required by the industry by 2035.
However, DGCA data indicates that a mere 3,644 Basic Licences and 159 type-rated AME licences were issued in the last five years.