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High-flying jobs boom grips India


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The wages, the independence and the glamor: An in-flight career is an attractive option in India.
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(CNN) -- The golden age of flying with fashionable flight attendants and unrivalled hospitality may be over in some parts of the world, but in India it is only just getting started.

From Amritsar to Calcutta, the subcontinent is on the verge of an aviation revolution, with up to five new low-cost airlines launching this year alone.

Other entrepreneurs are also hitching a ride on the low-cost airline boom. Among these new opportunities includes the need for training centers for flight attendants.

In India the career still carries a lot of glamor and at one finishing school for cabin crew -- the New Delhi-based Frankfinn Institute for Air Hostess Training -- all the women have managed to secure a job even before they have graduated.

"It is a childhood dream and my parents want me to join this field. It is a great feeling for us to be an air hostess," Priyanka Agarwal told CNN, from New Delhi, where she joined the course after high school.

Agarwal realizes it is a tough job despite its glamorous image. Training is conducted in a salvaged aircraft parked in a residential neighborhood in the Indian capital, where aspiring attendants get hands-on training.

With more airlines starting operations in India, such as Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet and GoAir, (Full story) flight attendant schools are confident they can place all their students.

"About 21,000 to 40,000 job vacancies are expected in the next three to four years, just for cabin crew jobs. So this is really a boom time," says K.S. Kohli from the Frankfinn Institute.

Yemen's national airline, Yemenia has even used the Frankfinn Institute, recently recruiting 45 graduates to fill cabin crew positions, according to a report in the Hindustan Times newspaper.

The institute offers one-year training packages in aviation, hospitality and travel management. The course fees start at $1,700 and can be paid in installments, while selection for the program is based on personal interviews.

Some youngsters, still in their late teens, will start their careers earning much more than many of their parents -- up to $1,500 a month in some cases.

Young women like Priyanka Agarwal say this is not so much about the glamor as it is about becoming independent and seeing the world.

CNN's Ram Ramgopal contributed to this report.


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