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SIA, Airbus may tie up for pilot training programme

Publication Date : 12-02-2014


Singapore Airlines (SIA) is likely to offer pilot training to other carriers in collaboration with European planemaker Airbus.

The Straits Times understands that the two have plans to enter into a partnership to tap soaring demand for pilots, especially in Asia. This could involve setting up a joint-venture firm, industry players said.

When asked if there were plans to offer third-party pilot training in a tie-up with Airbus, SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides said: "We are planning an announcement tomorrow, details of which will be revealed in the morning."

SIA's flight school, the Singapore Flying College, currently trains pilots from the group and also accepts individuals paying their own way.

It has campuses in Singapore and Australia. Pilot training takes about two years.

The demand for training facilities - from low-cost carriers and other airlines that do not wish to invest in their own flight schools - is expected to boom as airlines take on new aircraft and pilots, industry experts said.

Bigger carriers like SIA, Lufthansa and Emirates typically train their own cockpit crew.

It is estimated that the Asia-Pacific region will need more than 190,000 new pilots over the next 20 years - about 40 per cent of global demand.

In Singapore, ST Aerospace Academy (STAA), a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Aerospace, also trains airline pilots.

It offers a new teaching method - the multi-crew pilot licence programme - which focuses on simulator experience and multi-crew operations, instead of solo flying.

The new training method was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the regulator of the global air industry, in 2006.

The conventional curriculum, which centres on a single-crew propeller aircraft, can result in communication hurdles when a pilot eventually starts flying commercially, experts said.

STAA currently trains pilots for tigerair and a few Chinese carriers, and will soon start a programme for Qatar Airways.

SIA has said before that it is reviewing its curriculum amid an industry push for the new teaching method.


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