Bhanu Choudhrie Sparks Interest in Airline Pilot Training
The 10th anniversary of teaching aspiring pilots the MultiCrew Pilot License (MPL) system and graduating successful cadets marks a milestone for Alpha Aviation Academy (AAA). As the leading pilot training service in the Middle East, the company plans to increase its name recognition and become the largest provider of educational content for pilots. With an emphasis on diversity, the company’s outreach to enrol women and students from 65 countries may help it achieve its goal. A recent increase in the applicant age limit from 33 to 35 may encourage current pilots to enrol in the approximately two-year training program as well.
The man behind the success of the AAA program is Bhanu Choudhrie. He is the founder of Alpha Aviation Group – the company that started Alpha Aviation Academy – and the current director of C&C Alpha Group. As a leading entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist in London, he has won acclaim for his accomplishments. At the Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards event in 2008, he received recognition as the Entrepreneur of the Year. With degrees from Boston University and Harvard Business School, he puts his knowledge and education to work in his private equity investments and in founding successful businesses.
Taking the Lead at a Young Age
With the industriousness and dedication that mark his career, Bhanu Choudhrie obtained an internship at JP Morgan even before he earned his undergraduate degree in International Business and Marketing in the United States. After relocating to London in 2000, he helped his family form a private equity firm the following year. Eighteen years later, he takes pride in having founded the highly successful C&C Alpha Group. He formed Alpha Aviation Group Ltd in 2006 and partnered with Prescient Systems in a combined effort to confront the growing shortage of pilots qualified to work in commercial flights. Access to state-of-the-art concepts and training facilities provided an alternative to the lack of educational options that specifically address pilot preparation. His investments in aviation training facilities through Alpha Aviation Group (AAG) have made pilots more knowledgeable and skies safer.
The investment strategy that Bhanu Choudhrie implemented with AAG incorporated the need to develop a supply of qualified commercial airline pilots ahead of an increase in demand for them. Noting that the risk/return ratio of starting of a new training facility for pilots may not attract new investors, Choudhrie acknowledges that it requires an extensive level of knowledge, skill and experience to undertake a venture. “Penetrating the market as a start-up,” he said, “presents a more significant challenge.” Even though more than half of new ideas usually fail for entrepreneurs as well as investors, Choudhrie had confidence in the bold, new concept.
Forming Relationships with Airlines
To create a market for the graduates from the training program, Choudhrie arranged partnerships with Airbus and Boeing as well as relationships with Air Arabia, Cebu Pacific, Jet Airways, Philippine Airlines, VietJet Air, Airways Aviation and Etihad Airways The outreach has enhanced the success of AAA in preparing more than 800 graduates to join the airline companies as qualified pilots. General manager Nadhem AlHamad stated that breaking down “gender and diversity barriers” has encouraged more young men and women to “take to the skies.” At present, women pilots comprise only 3 percent of the commercial pilot population. With 20 female cadets in training and 28 graduates ready to accept positions, AAA contributes to reducing the low level of qualified commercial pilots available to provide air travel.
Expressing Approval for Accomplishments
The 10th anniversary confirms the viability of the concept that Bhanu Choudhrie envisioned for AAA. The program emphasizes training cadets to MPL standards that promote participation as integral components of a team of essential members. The concept rejects traditional methods that fail to develop the awareness of safety factors that aviation accidents have revealed. AAA guards against outdated methods by requiring cadets to undergo evaluations for academic fitness. The measurements that the company obtains through psychometric demonstrations, an interview and a medical examination provide data that can allow a cadet to pursue the training program. On graduation, cadets obtain the rank of Second Officer as a required step in advancing to the rank of First Officer and then to the rank of captain. The intensive course provides 1,500 hours of experience in flying the Airbus A320, an accomplishment that may enable graduates to help Alpha Aviation Academy provide pilots for Air Arabia.
Bhanu Choudhrie firmly supports the concept of full-service training academies that offer an “all-encompassing experience” that includes “end-to-end pilot training.” He thinks that they provide the most optimal solution that lets airlines “outsource the entirety of their training requirements.” In expressing appreciation for the advances that AAA has made, he congratulated the company “for all they have achieved” during the last 10 years. Expressing gratitude to the organization’s partners, he acknowledged the critical role they played in making the anniversary possible. He cited “every single one of our cadets and graduates” who provide a source of great pride.
While Choudhrie focuses his attention on the needs of staffing the airline industry, he has other ventures that he pursues with the same entrepreneurial spirit and energy. In the field of hospitality, a subsidiary of his C&C Alpha Group 24 hotels offers elegant accommodations in 2000 rooms, and he has recently opened a new hotel in Vietnam. His restaurants won the highest award from Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards in 2010. He funds Bollywood productions and actively supports India’s acting talent. Outside of the spotlight that involves real estate, hospitality, venture capitalism, the arts and entrepreneurial accomplishments, Choudhrie supports his mother’s Path to Success charity. As a child, he went with her to visit schools for children who face challenges, and the memory of those experiences motivate him to help the less fortunate. He encourages entrepreneurs who want to follow his path to success to “surround yourself with hardworking and successful people.”
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