Boost for pilot training schools as IOC to produce aviation gasoline

A logo of Indian Oil is picture in New Delhi | File photo
Indian Oil plans to locally produce aviation gasoline, a move that would enhance its availability and bring cost relief to pilot training schools in the country.

Currently there are 32 flying training schools and the government wants more such institutions to come up within the country. While airlines operate jet engine Airbus or Boeing planes which run on aviation turbine fuel, training schools operate small piston engine aircraft which run on aviation gasoline or Avgas.

Avgas rates are more than twice those of aviation turbine fuel and all of it is imported at present.

Indian Oil (IOC) is now looking to produce Avgas domestically given the government’s thrust for pilot training and as a part of its own Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

An Indian Oil spokesperson said the company is currently evaluating plan for domestic production of Avgas. Details regarding project cost would be finalised upon completion of the study. The company declined comment on potential cost savings and said these would be known only after evaluation is complete.

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According to sources, Avgas is likely to be produced at IOC’s Paradip refinery from next March. A source there could be potential to export the product to other countries in Asia as well as currently most of the Avgas production is in Europe and the US.

At present Avgas consumption in India is around 2500 kilolitres and IOC’s annual turnover from its sale is Rs 30 crore. Apart from flying schools, defence services and few government departments operate aircraft for non commercial use.

Last month the Airport Authority of India invited bids to lease out land parcels at six airports – Belgavi, Jalgaon, Kalaburgi, Khajurao, Lilabari and Salem to pilot training schools. The government hopes that domestic production of Avgas will help reduce cost of training schools and improve their sustainability. Officials also believe it
could make pilot training cheaper and help save foreign exchange.

“We need to bring our regulations in line with with US and European standards, simplify process of import of spares, address issue of shortage of aircraft maintenance engineers at training schools. These would enable training schools in India to attract students who prefer to learn flying overseas ,” said an aviation consultant.

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