SIA-Airbus pilot school set to open early next year

SIA-Airbus pilot school set to open early next year
The facility, to be located at Seletar Aerospace Park (above), will help SIA capture demand from other airlines for cockpit crews.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and aircraft manufacturer Airbus will open their new pilot school at Seletar Aerospace Park in the first quarter of next year, and construction is due to start soon.

SIA's cadet and certified pilots will undergo simulator training there instead of at its own training facility near Changi Airport.

The school is also SIA's first foray into third-party training for other airlines.

Initial training for new pilots will still be conducted in-house at SIA's training centres in Changi and Australia, spokesman Nicholas Ionides said.

The airline's 45 per cent investment in the $80 million Airbus Asia Training Centre (AATC), in which Airbus holds the majority stake, is a bid to tap growing demand for cockpit crews.

Especially in the Asia-Pacific region, carriers are adding aircraft at an unprecedented pace.

The move is also part of SIA's strategy to diversify revenue streams, as yields and earnings come under pressure amid aggressive competition from long-haul premium carriers and budget airlines.

SIA already has stakes in Virgin Australia and Indian carrier Vistara.

Earlier this month, SIA confirmed that it is in talks with South Korean budget carrier Jeju Air regarding a possible equity investment.

Cockpit crew training offers vast opportunities - estimates indicate more than half a million new pilots will be needed in the next 20 years.

Four in 10 are expected to be hired by Asian carriers.

The Airbus-SIA training centre received approval last month from Singapore's competition watchdog.

Airbus also has training facilities at its home base in Toulouse in France, Beijing and Miami.

The Seletar facility will offer simulator training for those operating single-aisle and wide-body Airbus aircraft, including the A-320 and the A-380 superjumbo.

The centre will also provide training for the A-350, which recently entered commercial service.

SIA has ordered 70 of these aircraft, and expects the first to arrive early next year.

Training for pilots will commence several months before that and for cabin crew, about two weeks before the operational launch.

SIA engineering staff, who will maintain the planes, will be trained by Airbus in Singapore and Toulouse.

karam@sph.com.sg

 


This article was first published on March 28, 2015.
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