Total loss pegged at Rs. 30 crore, says academy CEO S.N. Reddy

The major fire accident that engulfed a hangar in Begumpet airport has not just annihilated the entire fleet of aircrafts, along with the equipment, belonging to the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy (APAC), it has also put a question mark on the careers of about 42 trainees.

These trainees are undergoing two-year long course for obtaining commercial pilot licence. “Most students have completed at least half of their courses and our first priority is to restart the academy at the earliest,” said Capt. S.N. Reddy, Honorary Secretary and CEO of APAC.

The total loss sustained by the academy would be about Rs. 30 crore, he said. The APAC had six aircraft on its inventory: two Cessna 152 aircraft, two Cessna 172 aircraft, one Learjet and one Pushpak aircraft. All the six aircraft were parked in the same hangar when the fire broke out, Capt. Reddy explained.

He said that aviation academies world over operate from a single hangar as constructing a hangar is a costly affair. “Apart from the cost, finding land for these huge structures is also difficult,” he pointed out. Each day the aircraft tanks are filled to capacity after maintenance works.

“Moisture could seep into the aircraft fuel tanks overnight if they are left empty because of this they are refuelled before they are parked and it is an internationally accepted procedure,” he said. The academy would also sustain a loss of about Rs. 20 crore as the insurance covers only the aircraft.

The loss of hangar and equipment has to be borne by the academy itself. A new aircraft costs around Rs.1.75 crores and a new hangar Rs.15 crores.

“We are planning to either take a few aircraft on lease or buy old ones. New aircraft are not only costlier they also take a long time for delivery. The hangar will also cost more if features like overhead sprinklers are added to avoid such incidents in future,” he said.

A Government aided institution, APAC was originally established as ‘State Aero Club’ in 1931 by the then rulers of Hyderabad State. It was re-launched as ‘Andhra Pradesh Flying Club’ in 1958 and was renamed as APAC in 1998.