Wright Brothers of India to Revive World War Time Airfield


Two Indian pilots are being fondly called “Wright Brothers of India” as they are set to revive an old world war time airfield into a flying school at the popular Kaanadu Kaathan in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, known for its architectural splendour.

With no active flight training school in the state, the Tamil Nadu Government has signed an MOU with them and  the 130 acre facility in the Chettinad area under the Animal Husbandry Department now, they say will be handed over to them. 

These pilots Jonathan and Celroy who actually learnt flying in New Zealand ended up a establishing a flight training school there called “New Zealand Airline Academy” in 2018 and now they want to set up a base in their home country investing 100 crore to churn out 200 pilots a year. “We had set high standards than that existed in New Zealand by deploying brand new state of the art modern planes for training. We would replicate the same standards in India” said Jonathan Manuel the CEO / Director fo JC Indian Airline Academy Pvt Ltd speaking to tellmystory.in He added “We want to make this an aviation hub for India and abroad.”

The team plans to revive both of the old runways. “Our trainees would be able to get trained in an area without any air traffic congestion. Its a clean slate for us” explains Celroy Mascarenhas- Head of Training/Director. While the flying school in Chennai remains shut for several years, would the capital city would have been a better option for the flying  school?. “Not really, Chennai like other flying schools in bigger cities have met the same fate as international flights get priority. So for us the old airfield down south  is a  perfect location.

Though the airline industry had suffered turbulence amid the pandemic Jonathan says there would be good scope. “Every time we hit a rock bottom the  only way is to go up.  By 2040 there would be a need for 40000 pilots in India. The UDAN scheme is giving lots of growth prospects.”

The duo says “make in India” drew them toward this. Promising a competitive pricing the team plans to begin with 3 new planes and gradually  increase the fleet to 10. “We plan to kickstart by January 2023 subject to all regulatory approvals” says Jonathan.


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