Pilots' training facility to come up in Greater Noida

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Canada-based aviation technology major CAE and India's InterGlobe have joined hands to set up this facility at an estimated cost of USD 100 million, which would be spent over the next few years, top officials of Airbus and CAE told PTI.

CAE and InterGlobe are the primary equity partners in this joint venture, while Airbus would provide the simulators, the curriculum and pilot trainers, they said, adding that both Indian and foreign pilots would be trained here.

Though it would not provide initial training to churn out fresh pilots, the facility would have six simulators, each capable of providing advanced training and refresher courses to estimated 700 pilots annually, Jeff Roberts, CAE Group President (Civil Simulation Products, Training and Services) said.

"We had promised to the Indian government that we will facilitate such training programmes in India. We have done this in other parts of the world too and now we have 30 such training schools spread all over," Kiran Rao, Airbus Executive Vice-President (Marketing and Contracts), said when asked whether this was part of the offsets in lieu of their planes sold in India.

Maintaining that the Greater Noida facility would be ready in 13-14 months, Roberts said it would begin with the installation of two simulators for Airbus aircraft.

Various types of training programmes, ranging from two days to six months, would be run at the facility, including refresher courses and training for type-rating in which pilots are trained to fly particular types of aircraft.

In India, ab intio training for new pilots is given by the state-run Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy in Rae Bareli and the new flight training school in Gondia, apart from some licensed private institutions.

In one of the biggest orders in aviation history, no- frill carrier IndiGo, which is run by InterGlobe, ordered 180 Airbus planes, including 150 of the new A-320 Neo fuel saving jets, at the Paris Air Show this June.

The top Airbus official said the Indian carriers like IndiGo, which have ordered Airbus planes, have "insisted that we create more training facilities in India".

Regarding certification of the facility, he said the Airbus training curriculum, that is certified in Europe and the US, would be implemented here with changes in accordance with the Indian needs.

The curriculum, as well as the simulators and trainers, would be certified by the regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Rao said.

He said the number of simulators at the facility would be increased matching with the induction of Airbus planes by Indian carriers.

Rao and Roberts said the training facility would act as a significant cost-saver for the airlines, who spend large sums and time to send their pilots abroad to undertake such training.

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