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SIA, Airbus to set up flight training centre in Singapore

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is partnering Singapore Airlines (SIA) to set up a flight training centre in Singapore. The joint venture will be 55 per cent owned by Airbus and 45 per cent by SIA.

SINGAPORE: Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is partnering Singapore Airlines (SIA) to set up a flight training centre in Singapore.

The S$80 million facility will offer full pilot training for Airbus operators for A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 aircraft types across the region.

The joint venture will be 55 per cent owned by Airbus and 45 per cent by SIA.

Industry players said the new facility is well-positioned to meet the growing training needs of an expanding Airbus fleet in Asia Pacific.

Airbus forecasts that some 11,000 aircraft will be sold in this region over the next two decades.

And so it is stepping up its presence - with its fourth training centre in the world in Singapore. Airbus' other training centres are located at Beijing, Miami and Toulouse.

Dr Kiran Rao, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Airbus, said: "This area, Singapore being the hub of the region, it's the fastest growing region in the world for air travel.

"SIA is an ideal partner to have, going forward, because SIA is a great brand. SIA has perfect location, very central to cover India through to Australia and up through to Philippines and down to Indonesia. So we've got all our big customers surrounding Singapore."

On its part, SIA hopes to capitalise on the growing need for training, as regional demand for aircrafts soars.

Industry experts said they expect the centre to initially serve mostly SIA Group's pilots, but over time, this will include those from other airlines in the region.

Mr Nicholas Ionides, vice president of Public Affairs at SIA, said: "The potential for growth is significant in the Asia Pacific region. We'll be working together with Airbus to meet the training requirements that are significant in the years ahead... also to enhance the quality of training through research that we'll be doing in the joint venture as well. We'll be putting our simulators into the joint venture."

Some industry observers said it will help SIA to diversify its range of businesses.

Mr Shashank, Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying, said: "As you've seen in the past years, they've gone low cost long haul with Scoot, increased investment in Tiger Airways, and they've got their full service carrier.

"Now a training centre in collaboration with Airbus. It does not have fuel costs, it does not have seasonal traffic and there's always a demand for pilots wanting to learn how to fly the planes.

"So it will help them diversify their business for sure. The demand is growing fast enough, so they need to project ahead of time to make sure they scale up fast enough."

The flight training centre is scheduled to be operational towards the end of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

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