SINGAPORE-- The Airbus Asia Training Centre (AATC) here will help an airline save about 20 per cent of the training cost for pilots, said General Manager, Yann Lardet.
"That percentage is a general industry wide average when an airline outsources the training to us," he told reporters at the AATC media briefing here today
The centre has six full-flight simulators, comprising two A330, two A350 XWB, one A380 and one A320, which operate round the clock, every day of the year.
Lardet said plans are afoot for two more simulators, one for the A320 and the other for the A350, to be installed ahead of schedule over the next 18 months.
"The centre has also another two simulator bays to cater to future growth," he added.
He noted that when fully operational around 2019, the AATC will be the largest Airbus flight crew training facility in the world with eight full-flight simulators.
The centre's focus on the A330, A350 and A380 reflects the popularity of the Airbus widebody aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 700 in service and another 400 currently on order for future delivery.
The AATC, a joint venture, owned 55 per cent by Airbus and 45 per cent by Singapore Airlines (SIA), has attracted 42 airline customers since starting operations at Singapore's Seletar Aerospace Park in April 2016.
Malaysia Airlines is one of the clients.
"We have 144 pilots currently undergoing training here in phases to get ready for our new fleet of six A350 XWB," said Malaysian Airlines Chief Operations Officer, Captain Izham Ismail.
"By December, 60 pilots will be ready to fly the first two aircraft to be delivered to the carrier at year-end, with one being utilised for the London route.
"The remaining four will be ready not later than the second quarter of 2018 and all 144 pilots will be fully trained by May next year," he added.
Malaysia Airlines is in the midst of replacing the A380 with the A350 for its Kuala Lumpur-London route.
The A380s fly twice-daily on that route.
According to Izham, the national carrier is expected to see unit costs fall by around 30 per cent when it starts replacing the aircraft.
On the aviation industry's outlook next year, Izham said Malaysia Airlines sees huge potential in China and believe it is the growth market.
"We will continue to embrace the market in other parts of Asia as well," he said.
Meanwhile, Airbus predicts that passenger traffic will grow by 5.6 per cent annually in the Asia-Pacific over the next 20 years.
This will see the in-service fleet increasing from more than 6,100 aircraft today to almost 17,000 over the next two decades, generating significant demand for training services.
Airbus has four other flight crew training centres in Toulouse, Miami, Beijing, and Mexico City, two flight crew training partnerships in Dubai and Seoul, and one is scheduled to open in New Delhi in 2018.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK