Hyderabad: New Zealand, which claims to have the highest per capita ratio of aircraft, is ready to help India in airport development and pilot training to achieve its growth potential in the civil aviation sector.

Aviation New Zealand, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the country’s aviation industry association, is keen not only to expand the market for its services but also to engage in small-scale engineering joint ventures and offer its expertise in the helicopter segment.

New Zealand, which has one aircraft per thousand people, sees tremendous potential in India, which is looking to double its aircraft fleet in the next five years.

With India requiring more pilots for its increasing aviation sector and planning to develop airports in tier-II and tier-III cities, it is ready to offer its services in both the areas.

Already known for its high calibre pilot training, New Zealand aviation feels it can help in meeting the requirement of trained pilots in India, currently the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world but is expected to become the third largest by 2020.

“We have clear and perfect air space over a wide variety of terrain. Pilots learn to fly in a wide variety of conditions which makes them more skilful,” John Nicholson, chief executive, Aviation New Zealand, told IANS.

As many as 410 Indian pilots were trained in New Zealand in the last four years.

“India is a very important market for the training industry. It is the major source of students for a training school. So we want to grow that market and just show that we can be more relevant to India. We are also engaged at the government level with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the ministry of civil aviation,” Nicholson said.

Aviation New Zealand, which made its debut at the just concluded India Aviation 2012 here, is talking to most of the airlines in India for training their pilots.

CTC Aviation Training Limited, a Britain-based company which has training facilities in New Zealand, recently entered into a contract with Spicejet for pilot training.

New Zealand’s aviation industry, which has an annual turnover of $8 billion and exports of $3 billion with over 1,000 companies, feels it can be a natural partner of India in the development of small airports.

“We have a lot of knowledge and experience in building and running the sort of airports that will be in demand in the regional centres in India. We can bring some of our knowledge and make much better solutions for India,” said Nicholson.

Companies from New Zealand are already providing fit-out services to large airports in India. They are supplying a reasonable range of baggage and freight handling equipment and scales for weighing systems.

“We are also providing design services around the food eating facilities at a number of airports like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. They are designed in New Zealand but made in India,” he said.

Pacific Aerospace’s flagship aircraft P-750 XTOL is the most commonly manufactured in New Zealand and sold internationally. “It has been type rated in India but there have been no sales in India yet. We think it is ideally suited for some of the tough conditions in India,” he added.

Supply to remote areas and medical evacuation are some of the functions the aircraft performs in the countries in which it is sold in Africa, throughout South Pacific, Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia.

By Mohammed Shafeeq (Source:IANS)