Where can regional pilots go for their training?
As it stands today there are limited options for pilots to obtain type ratings in the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia - but there is more access coming, albeit not immediately, as both the major training providers look for the right opportunities to expand their businesses across the world.
Dubai plays host to the lion’s share of training availability with CAE’s joint venture Type Rating Training Organization (TRTO) with Emirates at the Emirates CAE Flight Training (ECFT) center. The facility has space for 14 simulator bays.
With the Middle East’s love of the larger business jet, this center can train pilots on Airbus ACJs and Boeing BBJs. It also offers training on Dassault’s Falcon 900EX EASy and 2000EX EASy with a dual-purpose simulator that went online in 2011. A Falcon 7X simulator was added in July 2011.
For Bombardier aircraft, ECFT is home to a Global Express simulator that offers ratings across the current family of Global aircraft (Express, 5000 and XRS). However, the center is set to expand its Bombardier offerings with the addition of Challenger 604 and Challenger 605 type ratings starting in mid-2012. There is also a Gulfstream GIV simulator that can accommodate training on the GIV and G450, as well as a bay for the GV and its variants, the G500 and G550.
Hawker Beechcraft training is covered by an 800/800XP simulator and an 800XCPi simulator that covers the Hawker 750XPi, 800, 800XP, 800XPi, 850, 850XP, 850XPi and 900XPi models.
In terms of BBJ and ACJ type ratings, CAE says the training is exactly the same as the airline version - so these tickets can be obtained at any center that hosts the right simulator.
Rival training company FlightSafety International (FSI) is eyeing opportunities in the Gulf, and claims it is already dealing with around 1,000 ratings and training requirements from people based in the region who are being serviced through the existing FSI locations.
Despite the plethora of simulators on offer, there is still not enough capacity. CAE is addressing the lack of suitable training centers and will open a business jet-specific facility in Asia in 2013. Although at present it has not announced where the facility will be, or what types it will offer the company says the training programs will be based on market demand.
CAE states that this will be the first Business Aviation full-service training center in Asia. CAE already offers training for Embraer’s Legacy 600 at its Zhuhai facility in China, since a ERJ 145 type rating includes that aircraft.
Meanwhile, FSI is addressing the lack of regional availability with a new simulator in Hong Kong, which is due to go online during 2012. Initially FSI will provide a single interchangeable simulator offering type ratings on the G450 and G550. Following talks with Gulfstream, it chose Hong Kong as the best location to service the existing regional fleet.
And the company says that the HK operations are just the first steps, since demand will increase as more aircraft enter the territory. FSI is watching the market carefully so that it may react appropriately.
FSI clarifies that the decision to base a simulator anywhere is always a joint decision with the manufacturer, thus ensuring that it can service the regional demand. For example, In India, FSI continues to assess training needs since no centers exist there yet.
While the two major training providers are beginning to grow their footprints in the emerging regions, it’s clear that it will be a number of years before the training demands require a similar number of facilities as can already be found in the long-established markets of North America and Europe.
Nevertheless, CAE will increase its offerings for the corporate jet market as it embarks on a mission to double its Business Aviation facilities from the four it had at the beginning of 2011 to eight. In 2012 the company will open brand new facilities in Mexico City/ Toluca and Sao Paulo.
The Sao Paulo facility, an Embraer-CAE Training Services facility, when it opens will be the first location in South America to offer simulationbased business jet training.
Earlier in the year CAE also announced that it had started scheduling training at its facility in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for Bombardier Challenger 300 and Challenger 604 types. This facility has Boeing 737NG capability, and as such is suitable for all the BBJ types.
As you can see from the above, the major providers of flight training are watching the developing regions carefully, adapting plans and branching out as and when the demand arises.
Consequently, regions like the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia can be confident that as their aircraft fleets grow, so will the options within the region to train, and gain the type ratings to fly them.