Aviation in India is the fastest growing and dynamic industry in India. The industry has been employing a fair amount of people and contributing a significant part to the GDP of the country. Safety is the primary concern in every industry and so is in aviation as well. For safe operation of the aircraft, it is vital that the maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification works are precise and carried out regularly. The personnel responsible for this purpose are Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.

Indian Aviation Industry

The aviation industry in India is considered as one of the fastest-growing and dynamic industries in the world. With great potential for maximum growth in the coming years, India has already become the 3rd largest and fastest-growing aviation market in the world in terms of domestic tickets sold. Over the past few years, the industry witnessed a growth of 11 percent in air passenger traffic. And 15.6 percent more foreign tourists arrived in the country by using air services.

Industry Scenario

Currently, India is the ninth-largest civil aviation market and one of the fastest-growing domestic air markets in the world. The industry itself contributes a whopping $72 billion to the nation’s GDP. The civil aviation industry is growing at a rapid pace in India and is bringing in more foreign investment and creating job opportunities as well. 

India has now 464 functional airports and airstrips, of which 125 airports are owned by Airport Authority of India (AAI). These 125 AAI airports manage about 78% of domestic passenger traffic and 22% of international passenger traffic, backing the development process in the industry.

Passenger traffic in India stood at 316.51 million during April 2018 - Feb 2019 timeline. The domestic passenger traffic stood at 252.92 million while the rest 63.59 million are of international traffic. Altogether, the aircraft movement, passenger traffic and freight traffic saw an increase of 4.9%, 4.5% and 3.1% respectively in February 2019 compared to last year, across all Indian airports taken together.

A higher range of air traffic has increased in the case of international cargo traffic which stands at 68.5% when compared with 31.5% of domestic cargo traffic. Along with this, the Maintenance and Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry are set to touch a record-breaking growth of $1.2 billion by next year from $950 million currently.

Major Investments

Boeing plans to set up a maintenance and repair facility at its aerospace SEZ near Devanahalli airport. The facility will focus on assembly and engineering technology with electronics/avionics manufacturing. AAR, a global provider of aviation services to commercial airlines, announced a joint venture with Indamer Aviation, a leading aviation company in India- for the development of a new airframe MRO facility in Nagpur. The new facility will initially comprise six narrow-body bays, including one bay for paint. Additional phases have been planned to increase this to 16 bays, as well as add component repair shops. All these developments and growth pattern hints at the creation of a massive number of job opportunities for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers in the country.

Government Initiatives to boost the industry

Since independence, this is the first time in 2016 that an Integrated Civil Aviation policy has been brought out by the government. The most notable government initiative in civil aviation is Ude Desh Ke Aam Nagarik (UDAN)- which is a regional airport development and connectivity scheme. Its objective is to enable “the common citizen of the country to fly”. It aims to make air travel affordable and widespread while boosting inclusive national and economic development. The National Civil Aviation Policy also directly addresses the MRO segment as this is a key segment that will be a significant growth leader for India’s Aviation and Defence Sectors. Key policies include the rationalisation of customs duty and the simplification of clearance of goods procedures. Further incentives proposed in the policy include provisioning land for MRO service providers, lowered VAT, etc. providers, lowered VAT, etc.

Along with this, The Government of India has liberalised the FDI policy for the aviation sector. It now permits 100% FDI in Greenfield and Brownfield airport projects. Foreign investment allowances in Scheduled Air Transport Service/Domestic Scheduled Passenger Airlines and Regional Air Transport Services have been increased to 100%. There are also opportunities in ground handling services and MROs.

How to become an AME?

Every aircraft, both private and public, is required to undergo maintenance after each flight and ensure airworthiness before taking off. An aircraft Maintenance Engineer is the authorised person to perform the service and maintenance of an aircraft. In India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation grants the AME licence to the eligible persons based on the AME course stream they chose. 

The AME licence is very important for Maintenance Engineers and is considered as a degree in the aviation sector with the maintenance of aircraft and its components. To maintain an aircraft, the licence is mandatory and is valid in India and other countries as well. A licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer has a lot of job opportunities in government and private sectors in India and abroad.

If you are looking for a career in the aviation industry, then becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) will be the best choice. Aircraft Maintenance Engineering is a technical training course of a duration of nearly 3 years which will award you with the aircraft maintenance engineer licence, approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Streams for the AME License

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer licence can be taken in the below categories.

A - This category of licence holders are who can maintain, repair and troubleshoot the simple defects of aircraft.

An A1 licence holder solves the simple defects of an aircraft with the jet engine while an A2 licence holder deals with an aircraft with a piston engine. 

A3 and A4 licence holders maintain and solve the simple defects found in a helicopter with the jet engine and piston engine respectively.

B1 category of licence comes under mechanical stream in aircraft which is related to components such as fuselage, landing gear, wings etc.

B1.1 and B1.2 licence holders are authorised to certify aircraft with a jet engine and piston engine respectively.

B1.3 and B1.4 licence holders are permitted to certify helicopters with a jet engine and piston engine respectively.

B2 licence holders deal with the avionics stream which is related to the electronics system in aircraft. Under this, the licence is granted in the following categories.

  • Electrical System
  • Instrumental System
  • Radio Navigation and Communication

AME Course Details

The AME course duration is 3 years long and consists of 2 ½ years of the academic program and 6 months of training. The institution which provides training in AME is regulated by the DGCA and the Civil Aviation Regulation. The training is provided in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) colleges in India under two main streams, mechanical and avionics. The mechanical stream covers subjects like jet and piston engines, light and heavy aircraft while the other stream, avionics includes radio navigation and electrical and instrumental systems. On completing the course and training, the candidate will be awarded the AME licence from the DGCA.

Some of the important subjects present in the AME syllabus are aircraft rules, basic aircraft engine, theory of flight, workshop, engineering drawing/graphics, aircraft material and hardware, aircraft structures, propellers, aircraft system and maintenance, gas turbine engines, basic and applied electricity, aircraft instruments, radio, aerodynamics, aircraft electronic systems, computer systems, aircraft inspection and maintenance etc.

AME Course Eligibility

Candidates who have completed 10+2 with at least 50% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics are eligible to join any Aircraft Maintenance Engineering course at any institute approved by DGCA. The upper age limit to join the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program is 23 except if you have done a three-year diploma course in any engineering program or BSc after 12th.

The licences issued by the DGCA are for a particular type of aircraft and you will be required to train for each type of aircraft to get the licence for a wide range of aircraft.

AME Licence Validity

An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer licence is valid worldwide since the members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) follow and implement regulations which are accepted all around the world. If you want to work abroad as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, you can attend the eligibility test in that country and work at the place or organisation you like.

Since government and private organisations around the world which use aircraft need qualified and experienced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, you can expect a much higher salary and better work environment upon the experience you have in the field.