Air hostess schools to take IPO flight to Dalal Street

Air hostess schools to take IPO flight to Dalal Street


New Delhi: Amid the growing demand for trained talent in aviation sector, training schools for air hostesses and other airline staff are planning to raise funds by selling shares to the public and private investors.

Two major academies Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training and Air Hostess Academy (AHA) are planning to raise funds through an initial public offer and placement of shares with private equity firms, to meet their expansion targets.

Another key player in this segment, Avalon Aviation Academy, which is part of leading IT training institute chain operator Aptech Ltd, also has huge expansion plans, but is not considering any IPO plan as of now.

Both Frankfinn and AHA expect to hit the capital market with IPOs by the next year.

“The demand for staff would be skyrocketing in the coming 2-3 years. At least 30,000 to 40,000 cabin crew positions and 25,000 ground staff vacancies would crop up," Frankfinn Chairman K S Kohli told PTI.

Apart from opening new centres, Frankfinn is also planning to buy an aircraft by the next year. The firm plans to float an IPO by mid next year and the proceeds would be used for these new initiatives, Kohli said.

Besides, AHA expects to hit the capital market by early 2008, thus becoming the first aviation academy in India to be listed on the bourses. The firm is planning to dilute 20-25% of its equity through the IPO, AHA’s Founder and Director Sapna Gupta said.

Apart from generating funds through IPOs, both AHA and Frankfinn are also planning to tap private equity investors.

"Many private equity players have shown keen interest in investing in Frankfinn. We do not rule out the possibilty for offering stake to them, but nothing has been finalised as yet,“ Kohli said.

“A pre-IPO placement should be concluded by end of this year," AHA’s Gupta said.

Currently, AHA is holding talks with leading Indian private equity firms, she said, but declined to give names.

On whether Avalon was also seeking to tap the capital market to raise funds, company vice-president Preeti Mallik said, “As of now we do not have any plans."

Currently, Avalon has 29 centres and is planning to expand to about 40 centres by the end of the year.

“As per our estimates, close to 8,000 vacancies would be created by the private airlines in the last quarter of this year," AHA’s Gupta said.

AHA, at present has 32 domestic centres and is planning to open more, mostly in tier II and three III cities like Goa, Hyderabad and Lucknow.

It believes there is more potential in smaller cities in terms of eager-to-learn and dedicated potential employees, and ample opportunities as major airlines eye these small centres. It also plans international centres in Australia and UK by next year.

Frankfinn has opened 40 new domestic cabin crew schools this year across the country, including in small town like Kota, Hubli and Dhanbad. It has currently 117 centres in 95 cities and plans to open its first international centre in Dubai during Ramzan this year, and 8-10 more international centres by March 2008.