Indian pilot trainees duped by US aviation school

June 30th, 2008 - 12:58 am ICT by IANS  

New York, June 29 (IANS) Over 100 Indian trainee pilots in California were reportedly duped after the aviation school they enrolled in closed down and is allegedly not refunding the fee they paid. The students of the American School of Aviation who paid $40,000 each in the hope of finding jobs after graduation in the booming Indian aviation sector that is facing a severe shortage of pilots, have been told to vacate their accommodation after officials in Merced County - where the school is located - discontinued water and electricity supplies citing outstanding utility bills.

“The students have been there for 18 months and the course which was supposed to be 10-month long is not yet finished. The NRI owners of the school are not refunding their course fees and classes have been suspended,” Vayalar Ravi, minister of overseas Indian affairs, said in a statement.

The overseas Indian affairs ministry is trying to help the stranded students through the Indian consulate general in San Francisco.

According to a media report, about 30 of the students have accepted an offer from Manpreet “Prince” Singh, president and chief flight instructor of the aviation school, to have them enrolled in another flying school in California.

Besides Indians, the school has a few Japanese, Sri Lankan and American students, who share their predicament.

The school’s website displays logos of all the major Indian airlines as well as other airlines, giving the false impression of an association with them.

Kingfisher Airlines is one company, however, which issued a letter of intent to the school to consider employing their graduates. Kingfisher too has since terminated the arrangement with the school as per a June 2 posting on a website by the manager for human resources at Kingfisher Airlines.

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