It is over nine months following the first petition signed by the students at the Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) with concerns regarding mismanagement and prolonged delay in course completion.
Earlier this month, news surfaced regarding the ongoing salary dispute between the engineers and the flight school. The engineers were provided less than 30% of their normal salary following the beginning of the pandemic.
The flight school was unable to come to an agreement and the engineers eventually resigned and left Addu City yesterday.
At present, while the majority of the aircraft are all grounded, even the flight simulator is reportedly not working.
In May, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ordered Maldives Civil Aviation Authority (MCAA) to take action against the flight school and ordered an independent audit of the MCAA.
The President also instructed the Ministry of Finance to provide easements to student loans obtained from both Bank of Maldives and the Ministry of Higher Education.
Looking back at the last few months, here’s an updated timeline of how events unfolded at the flight school since September:
27th September 2020 - Students first emailed a petition signed by 86 students raising their concerns.
4th October 2020 - AAA management responds by blaming weather and the students for the delay in the course completion.
5th October 2020 - Students mail to government authorities (MCAA, MOHE) regarding concerns over the flight school.
11th October 2020 - Online Meeting with the students was carried out with Minister of higher education Dr. Ibrahim Hassan.
13th October 2020 - A team from the Maldives Transport ministry and Maldives Civil Aviation Authority met with AAA management to discuss ways to solve the issues.
16th October 2020 - The students called by phone to MCAA as MCAA had not emailed back with any updates.
20th October 2020 - MOHE replies to AAA student unions email regarding the concerns raised.
21st October 2021 - An online Meeting with the students was carried out by the Deputy Minister of transport Hamadh Abd Ghanee, Acting director of flight Ops Nasrullah Shakeeb, and Director of airworthiness Abdulla Mohd
22nd October 2020 - Press release regarding the Asian Academy of Aeronautics extension of loan repayment was released.
23rd October 2020 - 5 students were given termination letters from the flight school.
23rd October 2020 - Students complained to the authorities regarding the termination labeling it as an attempt by AAA to silence the remaining students.
23rd October 2020 - Ministry of Transport informs AAA to revoke the termination letters.
24th October 2020 - AAA suspends termination notices given to the students.
25th October 2020 - Students received emails mentioning exam deadlines, and strict course completion deadlines.
19th November 2020 - MCAA informed students that they are reviewing the exemption requested.
19th November 2020 - AAA‘s CFI met students union to discuss exemption provided by the MCAA.
22nd November 2020 - SDS replied to emails saying they will revert back terminations after assessing student progress.
24th November 2020 - School terminated yet another student without providing any warning against Transport Ministries suggestion.
28th December 2020 - “Gaumee tharahgee aai tharikaige committee” visited Addu City and questioned the management of AAA.
28th December 2020 - Committee met with students in Addu City to draft a detailed document of all the issues the students have faced.
4th January 2021 - One year passes following the hard landing of 8Q-GAD.
5th January 2021 - People’s Majilis committee met with the responsible parties of the Ministry of transport, Ministry of Higher Education, etc. to question their decisions regarding AAA. During the meeting, Minister Nahula stated they are working to find a way for the students to continue training abroad.
5th January 2021 - A harassment complaint was filed with the Gender Ministry.
14th February 2021 - Detailed Report was presented to People’s Majilis by the committee.
27th February 2021 - Newly appointed GM to AAA reports in media that student’s course is delayed due to lack of performance by the students.
27th February 2021 - AAA Director, CEO, and Head of Training, Suranjan De Silva accuses one of the students being a murderer. (The student was involved in a motorbike accident)
17th March 2021 - AAA had only one Cessna 172 aircraft operational for training.
1st April 2021 - All aircraft at AAA grounded. The earliest an aircraft to be available was after 45 days.
1st April 2021 - Students unable to complete CPL course as the spare part required for the only PA34 aircraft would require at least 120 days to arrive.
16th April 2021 - Instructors stopped simulator training sessions as they were not paid. The instructors resumed the simulator training session on 19th April however they canceled again.
19th April 2021 - MCAA-appointed observer emailed statement that the school is trying to get a Cessna 150 aircraft operational by 20th April.
20th April 2021 - MCAA appointed observer stated that the Cessna 150 aircraft is expecting further delays due to technical issues.
1st May 2021 - Zero aircraft available at AAA for training as aircraft under maintenance are taking a longer time period to be fixed. AAA failed to reply to emails requesting a refund.
4th May 2021 - Engineers employed by AAA reportedly resigned following salary disputes.
10th May 2021 - The flight simulator at the academy is reportedly no longer working.
11th May 2021 - President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih orders action against AAA, an independent audit of MCAA, and instructs BML and Ministry of Education to issue easements to the student loans.
18th May 2021 - Engineers employed by AAA resign and leaves Addu City.
The wait continues for the frustrated student’s filled with uncertainty regarding their future.