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Bangkok Post

School for pilots just fails to take off

by SIRIKUL BUNNAG

NAKHON PHANOM : Only three Thai students have enrolled for the first semester at the two-billion-baht International Aviation College _ an institution observers say is a prime example of politicians starting up self-serving projects...[more]

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Bangkok Post

School for pilots just fails to take off

by SIRIKUL BUNNAG

NAKHON PHANOM : Only three Thai students have enrolled for the first semester at the two-billion-baht International Aviation College _ an institution observers say is a prime example of politicians starting up self-serving projects...[more]

It takes time to launch and trim such an organisation. Currently we have not 3 but 8 Thai Students plus 15 Qatari Students (and 15 other Qatari Students stuck because of the political turmoil, awaiting the signature of the Transport Minister to join..) Our Flying school has started operation in June... Not so bad!!! And we are in advanced discussions with two Airlines for 2 batches in the next 3/4 Months (Confidentiality required as the discussions are not yet finalised).....The capacity of the school is currently 60 students and it should be reached in 2009.

The school i\s technically better located far from Bangkok and other training areas (Pattaya/ Korat = Military training). Bangkok = commercial activity. Only non professionals of Civil Aviation are thinking differently. It is true that Private students are most located in the area of Bangkok, but our real customers are not Private students but AIRLINES, and the quietness of Nakhon Phanom is ideal for studying ...

Plenty of craps in the infos, none a students has flown in Laos: we are under permanent control and contact with Sakhorn Nakhorn Control...

Training of pilot requires a constant policy and follow up: Due to unstability in training, utilisation of part time military pilot instructors does not give the best results.... More if the Military Pilots are extremely good in "General Handling" we may have some reserves in some other aspects, because Military and Civil pilots correspond to two different specialisations.

Why IAC? Not because of a local politician, but because some were complaining about the too low standards of training in Thailand.....That's an other reason which has been given to us when we have designed this school: I understand that the big gap in quality of training is creating some reactions....

We are also very demanding in our recruitment and some frustrations are developing.....

" The caravan is passing by and the dogs bark...."

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And Pilot Training is a profitable industry (UK= more than 20 schools, USA, and close to us, Malaysia 7 schools and 1000 students, Australia)

Instead to be negative the question is:

how Thailand, ideally located between two huge markets (Namely India and China) can benefit of its location?

This a a non neglectible source of foreign currencies.....

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And Pilot Training is a profitable industry (UK= more than 20 schools, USA, and close to us, Malaysia 7 schools and 1000 students, Australia)

Instead to be negative the question is:

how Thailand, ideally located between two huge markets (Namely India and China) can benefit of its location?

This a a non neglectible source of foreign currencies.....

'PROFITABLE INDUSTRY' ? Lets entertain that idea for a moment.....

Definition of profitable:

'Pure economic profit is the increase in wealth that an investor has from making an investment, taking into consideration all costs associated with that investment including the opportunity cost of capital. Accounting profit is the difference between price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise (whether by harvest, extraction, manufacture, or purchase) in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.'

So, in accordance with the expenses report as shown in the Bangkok Post, IAC has invested 1,205,100,000 Baht in their business. That figure does not include salary costs, fuel costs, aircraft maintenance costs, airport fees etc etc.

Therefore, at 2.3 million Baht per person, per course, it would require approximately 524 students to take up the course just to recover the initial investment. To put that in another way, based on your plan of 60 students per year, it will take approximately 9 years to recover the initial investment!

As I said this calculation does not take into account a number of IACs operating costs like salaries, aircraft maintenance, student accommodation and food etc (and depreciation of assets, which at the moment are very high given the bankruptcy of Theilert, the aircraft engine manufacturer). So a more realistic forecast would be approximately 12-15 years to recover this investment! And then profit? hmmmm......Since the average life expectancy in terms of operational efficiency for a training aircraft is on average 20 years, I DON'T THINK SO!

That does not sound like a profitable (industry) proposition to me, and I certainly would not invest in IAC from a business perspective!

I am amazed that these figures were not taken into account at the planning stages. Perhaps then tax payers money could have been put to better use.

You also mention that IAC is ideally located between two large markets: India and China, yet you do not claim to have any students from either of these countries. I agree that China is a large market, however most of their training is done within China, and the remainder is sub-contracted to various flight training organisations in Australia (a fact that the Bangkok Post article supports). As regards India, the aviation market there is entering recession; Non-Indian National Pilots are being made redundant, and Indian Nationals are having their working rosters reduced, as aircraft are being grounded, and routes cancelled due to soaring fuel costs in India. Previous to the recession, most Indian carriers already had active training agreements mainly with USA based flight training organisations (and some Australia based).

Sorry to steal your thunder old chap, but making statements without basing them on hard fact and evidence has to be hitting the Thai tax payer hard.

Edited by FarangFlyer
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And Pilot Training is a profitable industry (UK= more than 20 schools, USA, and close to us, Malaysia 7 schools and 1000 students, Australia)

Instead to be negative the question is:

how Thailand, ideally located between two huge markets (Namely India and China) can benefit of its location?

This a a non neglectible source of foreign currencies.....

'PROFITABLE INDUSTRY' ? Lets entertain that idea for a moment.....

Definition of profitable:

'Pure economic profit is the increase in wealth that an investor has from making an investment, taking into consideration all costs associated with that investment including the opportunity cost of capital. Accounting profit is the difference between price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise (whether by harvest, extraction, manufacture, or purchase) in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.'

So, in accordance with the expenses report as shown in the Bangkok Post, IAC has invested 1,205,100,000 Baht in their business. That figure does not include salary costs, fuel costs, aircraft maintenance costs, airport fees etc etc.

Therefore, at 2.3 million Baht per person, per course, it would require approximately 524 students to take up the course just to recover the initial investment. To put that in another way, based on your plan of 60 students per year, it will take approximately 9 years to recover the initial investment!

As I said this calculation does not take into account a number of IACs operating costs like salaries, aircraft maintenance, student accommodation and food etc (and depreciation of assets, which at the moment are very high given the bankruptcy of Theilert, the aircraft engine manufacturer). So a more realistic forecast would be approximately 12-15 years to recover this investment! And then profit? hmmmm......Since the average life expectancy in terms of operational efficiency for a training aircraft is on average 20 years, I DON'T THINK SO!

That does not sound like a profitable (industry) proposition to me, and I certainly would not invest in IAC from a business perspective!

I am amazed that these figures were not taken into account at the planning stages. Perhaps then tax payers money could have been put to better use.

You also mention that IAC is ideally located between two large markets: India and China, yet you do not claim to have any students from either of these countries. I agree that China is a large market, however most of their training is done within China, and the remainder is sub-contracted to various flight training organisations in Australia (a fact that the Bangkok Post article supports). As regards India, the aviation market there is entering recession; Non-Indian National Pilots are being made redundant, and Indian Nationals are having their working rosters reduced, as aircraft are being grounded, and routes cancelled due to soaring fuel costs in India. Previous to the recession, most Indian carriers already had active training agreements mainly with USA based flight training organisations (and some Australia based).

Sorry to steal your thunder old chap, but making statements without basing them on hard fact and evidence has to be hitting the Thai tax payer hard.

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And Pilot Training is a profitable industry (UK= more than 20 schools, USA, and close to us, Malaysia 7 schools and 1000 students, Australia)

Instead to be negative the question is:

how Thailand, ideally located between two huge markets (Namely India and China) can benefit of its location?

This a a non neglectible source of foreign currencies.....

'PROFITABLE INDUSTRY' ? Lets entertain that idea for a moment.....

Definition of profitable:

'Pure economic profit is the increase in wealth that an investor has from making an investment, taking into consideration all costs associated with that investment including the opportunity cost of capital. Accounting profit is the difference between price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise (whether by harvest, extraction, manufacture, or purchase) in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.'

So, in accordance with the expenses report as shown in the Bangkok Post, IAC has invested 1,205,100,000 Baht in their business. That figure does not include salary costs, fuel costs, aircraft maintenance costs, airport fees etc etc.

Therefore, at 2.3 million Baht per person, per course, it would require approximately 524 students to take up the course just to recover the initial investment. To put that in another way, based on your plan of 60 students per year, it will take approximately 9 years to recover the initial investment!

As I said this calculation does not take into account a number of IACs operating costs like salaries, aircraft maintenance, student accommodation and food etc (and depreciation of assets, which at the moment are very high given the bankruptcy of Theilert, the aircraft engine manufacturer). So a more realistic forecast would be approximately 12-15 years to recover this investment! And then profit? hmmmm......Since the average life expectancy in terms of operational efficiency for a training aircraft is on average 20 years, I DON'T THINK SO!

That does not sound like a profitable (industry) proposition to me, and I certainly would not invest in IAC from a business perspective!

I am amazed that these figures were not taken into account at the planning stages. Perhaps then tax payers money could have been put to better use.

You also mention that IAC is ideally located between two large markets: India and China, yet you do not claim to have any students from either of these countries. I agree that China is a large market, however most of their training is done within China, and the remainder is sub-contracted to various flight training organisations in Australia (a fact that the Bangkok Post article supports). As regards India, the aviation market there is entering recession; Non-Indian National Pilots are being made redundant, and Indian Nationals are having their working rosters reduced, as aircraft are being grounded, and routes cancelled due to soaring fuel costs in India. Previous to the recession, most Indian carriers already had active training agreements mainly with USA based flight training organisations (and some Australia based).

Sorry to steal your thunder old chap, but making statements without basing them on hard fact and evidence has to be hitting the Thai tax payer hard.

I do not know where Bangkok Post has found its figures but they are fully wrong and do not correspond to real investments far from those figures. Please telll to Bangkok Post to check its source....

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Concerning the Chinese Market, Training inside China is not working well due to weather, pollution and ATC.... Chinese have a deficit of 1000/1500 Pilots per year

The Indian Market will rebounce: Civil Aviation is a cyclic industry. Oil Prices have cleaned some surcapacity and the aurvivors of the present oil price crisis will be in overheat soon: well known scenario.

Concerning the investments, tell to Bangkok Post to check its sources.... figures are fully wrong and have to be divided by 3 or 4.....

And we are only few months after the start of operations: Before making some rough assessments on the profitability and development of IAC, should you not wait at least one year of operation before?

About the A320 simulator, you are not well informed: the simulator is under preparation overseas and will be in our facilities in December. (As contracted and Planned and on time for the training)

Concerning the Flight instructors, at date, we are correctly staffed. We are very demanding and have rejected some candidacies: farang and Thais...So, some frustrations....

FarangFlyer, you seem very keen to destroy ....Have you some links with the sacked farang instructors?

Edited by Asian Frog
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One more point....

Local Carriers have inspected our set up and are generally very pleased, but it takes time to decide and also the current situation is not favourable. Each team has to report to its management, function of the expansion plan to decide about the recruitment and training. They have also current contracts to respect before switching to an other training institution: so it takes time....

And also, some opponents / competitors are actively lobbying against us in the Airlines boards; Farangflyer are you one of them? No, because they are not polemical, they use softer methods.

After reading your posts, taking into account some details, you can only be one of the sacked Farang Instructors....

Edited by Asian Frog
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I do not know where Bangkok Post has found its figures but they are fully wrong and do not correspond to real investments far from those figures. Please telll to Bangkok Post to check its source....

Bangkok Post

Quote ' Sky Hight Costs'

Quote ' Source: Nakhon Phanom University'

I was only working with the figures provided by the Nakhon Phanom University. If they are wrong, I suggest that you may want to contact the Bangkok Post to request a retraction or a reprint.

Asian Frog, you appear very paranoid with regard to 'sacked farang instructors'. You have mensioned this term in a number of posts already. In my experience, people who are over paraniod about certain issues, usually have their reason. Any comments that I have made are personal observations given the information at hand in both this forum and the PPRUNE forum. For your information, I am a farang living and working in Thailand, and therefore a Thai tax payer. All of us living in Thailand realise how much assistance from the government that many poor thai communities could do with. I feel that the money that has been seemingly 'wasted' could have bought much assistance for those in need.

Finally, you quote 'Before making some rough assessments on the profitability and development of IAC, should you not wait at least one year of operation before?'

If you look at some of your earlier posts regarding IAC, they date back to 2006. So it would appear to me that IAC has been around much longer than June 2008....

Additionally I gave figures to reinforce my idea and position. I see that you continue to make statements without backing them up with hard evidence and fact.

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BANGKOK POST POST BAG

Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2008 08:05:17 +0700

To: [email protected]

From: "Assoc. Prof. Suwit Laohasiriwong"

Subject: School for pilots just fails to take off

Dear Editor,

Please referring to an article on page in your newspaper dated sept. 8.

There were some errors in that piece of news which we would like to correct.

1. The costs in the figure which you quoted NPU as a source, there

was one big error there, the cost of 4 twin-engine planes should be

100 million Baht not 1 Billion Baht (perhaps Khun Sirikul Bunnag who

wrote this article did not understand that 1 billion = 1000 million).

2. " at the end of the programme, students are required to do five

hours's flying training" actually what she should write have to be "

at the end of the programme, students are required to do five

hours's "aerobatics" flying training. This is not offer by any

other flying schools in Thailand.

3. The far distance from Bangkok should not be any problems, what we

have at NPU is very good airport with one commercial flight a day,

and very excellent training area.

4. The college, has been approved by cabinet and NESDB before the

budget bureau committed 2 billion Baht for 5 years plan. Up to now

we only received 300 million Baht capital investment.

5. Should Khun Sirikul or Bangkok Post readers questioned why this

high standard international school do not get support from Thai

International to train TG future pilots ? Why do they keep

supporting private school before government funded institute ?

5. As for number of Thai students, we have started another batch of

5 students from Thailand, and we are also in the process of getting 8 students from Lao Aviation.

While it seems our flying school has been blocked here and there,

perhaps by some people who put their own interests before the

country, I hope your newspaper is not one of them.

Assoc. Prof. Suwit Laohariwong, Ph.D.

President

Nakhon Phanom University

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After reading your posts and from my sources , I conclude that :

-they become parano because their "sacked" instructors are filing law case against IAC and IAC won't back up any farang manager.

-a french examiner working for IAC has been grounded for misconduct recently, this french examiner has excellent relationship with the french embassy in Bangkok.

-they have only 3 thai students who after 9 months, don't have even a privat license.

-IAC has hired an A320 sim instructor when there is no sim!!!???.

-some other instructors are coming when there is no more students to train.

-Prof. Suwit didn't write this letter to B.post.

-this school has a bad reputation in Asia , it's managed by Thai People with no aviation background.

- Bangkokpost is spot on!.

I suggest you to check for a better school, this one stinks! :o

School for pilots just fails to take off SIRIKUL BUNNAG

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NAKHON PHANOM : Only three Thai students have enrolled for the first semester at the two-billion-baht International Aviation College _ an institution observers say is a prime example of politicians starting up self-serving projects.

The college is part of Nakhon Phanom University, which was established in 2005.

College dean Prasong Tianthanu said: ''It is disappointing. We planned to produce 100 pilots in five years, and were expecting at least 12 Thai and foreign students to register for the full-time Commercial Pilot Licence programme.

''The short course, 100 hours of pilot training, attracted 15 Qatar Airways pilots.''

The college, which hoped to become the region's pilot-training centre, invested more than 290 million baht buying training planes.

It is paying six-digit salaries to five trainers _ two Thais, an American, a Briton and a Frenchman.

It boasts a European standard training course in English for the first time in Thailand. The course costs about 2.3 million baht. The short course costs 500,000 baht.

080908_news06.jpg

Mr Prasong conceded the new college had not won the trust of local and foreign carriers.

The college is far from Bangkok airports, making it harder to draw part-time trainers as well as students.

Now that the plan to train 100 pilots seems unrealistic, the college has shifted its attention to the six-month course.

Apart from the target market in the Middle East, the college is planning to court students from China, Laos and Vietnam.

Gerard Charles, the head teacher, said quality would be the key to the college's survival.

The college offers a European-standard programme, while other pilot schools in Thailand follow the US standard, he said.

Students practise on Airbus A320 simulators, which are not available anywhere else in Thailand.

At the end of the programme, students are required to do five hours' flying training, as well as training in problem solving, to prepare them for every situation.

Four sources in the Higher Education Commission agreed that the college was set up to satisfy a politician and with complete disregard to its worth academically or as an investment.

''The college was set up by a high-flying politician, who has long had solid support in this province. The college was set up to cement his popularity and bring the provincial airport back to life,'' said a source.

The airport now welcomes one commercial flight a day.

The source said many commissioners cautioned that the college is too far from Bangkok, where trainers and repairs are readily available. They suggested the college be built in nearby cities, such as Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi.

They also argued that given the budget constraints, the two-billion-baht college would eat away much needed funding for the 12 years of free schooling and the development of 60 universities throughout the country.

Wing Commander Piya Tregalnon, the president of the Bangkok Aviation Centre, a privately-owned pilot training school based at Don Muang, said the top pilot teachers worked full-time in the air force and could not travel to work at the college as it is too far away. The college now has to shoulder the high costs of hiring foreign teachers.

Students from China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore opt for Australia, which has more than 200 pilot training schools that are experienced and come with good reputations.

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Edited by thaistudent2000
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I have been following this thread with a lot of interest. In a few years I will retire with my Thai wife to Thailand. Currently I am a Senior Instructor for Boeing. Hence very familiar with aviation training.

I have been in Thailand conducting classes for both Orient Thai and Bangkok Airways. In Malaysia training for Transmile, and various Singapore organizations. I spent January this year in TinJin, China at the Aviation University teaching 4 rounds of classes.

In sort, in the past 12 years, I have been at a lot of airlines and MRO's on 6 continents as well as numerous classes in the USA.

It is always difficult for a new organization to establish a reputation and a student base. Just look at the the mess that Boeing caused with the branding of "Alteon" of the official training organization for Boeing.

People will make judgments based upon trying to bring similarities from other types of business. This is not the case in Aviation training. It takes some time and successes to establish a reputation. Looking at the "sour grapes" I see posted by some of the terminated instructors, one should remember that many pilots are made of egos and insecurity's. I personally have had many cases of pilot checks that failed to meet standards, go to my management, complaining, I was unfair, too demanding, unrealistic in the scenario's...etc. Fortunately we do record flight tracks in the simulators, and a simple print out resolves the problem. I have never been over-ruled, but have sure created some internet chatter about "avoid that instructor".

In my world there is simply no substitute for excellence.

I wish the school all the best, and once I move to Thailand I hope it is up and running, and I will certainly pay it a visit.

Ciao

Bob

MBA

FAA ATP MEL, SELS Rotocraft-Helicoper

FAA A&P

FCC GROL

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