While India’s growth rate may have slowed in recent months, its aviation growth is still expected to be significant, especially when compared to the rest of the world (except maybe China).
I had the privilege to spend several weeks in Hyderabad, India – a city of enormous contrasts. While the old city is comparable to many of India’s older metropolises, it has a brand-new, high-tech image with corporations such as Microsoft, Google and Honeywell building major corporate centers.
The airport at HYD is an image of India’s aviation future. With its very modern, high-tech airport it also has the luxury of extremely low labor costs. And it obviously takes advantage of those low labor rates in its ground operations.
As usual, I spent my time at HYD observing ramp operations. The first thing that caught my eye was the number of people on the ramp to turn an aircraft. I really thought it was a nostalgic glimpse back at the way operations were conducted years ago in the United States, when I first started in the business. For the loading operation on the ramp of a 767 aircraft, I counted 14 people. Probably double what I see at most U.S. operations. These 14 people were in addition to equipment drivers and any cabin crew working inside the aircraft.
It’s amazing what a difference people power can make! The first aircraft I observed came in late, but easily made it out on time.