Training Organizations Respond to New EASA Rules

 - November 19, 2012, 9:30 AM
Instructors now train recruits at ATR’s training center in Toulouse to the new EASA standards. (Photo: ATR)

New European Part FCL flight crew licensing standards defining EC regulations for pilots’ licenses have sent ripples through the training industry, but some companies see an opportunity in the resulting need to “harmonize” the offerings at their various facilities throughout the continent.

The new regulations will allow flight schools to train to a single set of standards for the various countries in Europe, meaning schools will no longer need separate sets of quality manuals, systems and individual approvals for different licenses, including CPL, APPL and MPL. In fact, ATR’s training center in Toulouse has become the first in France to obtain the new FR.ATO.0001 certificate covering the new unified format.

French civil aviation director Florence Rousse praised ATR for its “high degree of responsiveness in order to comply with the new EASA regulations as quickly as possible.

“This first certification in France will no doubt have a very positive effect on the other organizations, with the aim of ensuring full compliance between now and the end of April 2013, the deadline for making the transition to this new regulation,” he said.

Speaking with AIN last week from his company’s London Gatwick Airport training center in the UK, CAE executive vice president Glenn Frederick said he expects his company to complete the transition some time next January.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Frederick. “We have folks in Amsterdam that have one set of programs, we have a similar set in Brussels, in Portugal and in the UK. This will allow us to harmonize; we’ll take the best of all the programs; we’ll make sure that they meet the new EASA requirements but we’ll offer a single, what we think is best-in-class program.”

Frederick described the cost of the new EASA Part FCL rules as “incidental” compared with the savings the company will glean from its ability to deploy a single training course through its four European campuses.

Through its acquisition of Oxford Aviation Academy in the spring, CAE’s network now encompasses 11 ab initio flying campuses worldwide. “[We’ve taken] the best practices that Oxford had in their program, combined them with lessons we’ve learned from customers around the world as well as put more focus on some of the new regulatory recommendations that are coming forward such as upset recovery training and high-altitude training and set up a best-in-class [offering] that meets the new EASA requirements,” said Frederick.