CAE (Booth No. 1344), which established a beachhead into business aviation simulator training by buying SimuFlite in December 2001, is bolstering its presence in Europe with the expansion of its facility in Burgess Hill, about 20 minutes south of London Gatwick Airport in southern England. So far, the facility has had four bays but is currently undergoing expansion to eight bays, so as to be able to offer training for the Dassault Falcon 7X, Falcon 900 EASy and Falcon 2000EX EASy jets.
When the new bays open in the first quarter of next year, the facility’s capacity will be split about evenly between business aircraft and the A320 training that it provides to airlines. CAE SimuFlite expects more business aircraft simulators to come on line, swinging the facility’s balance in favor of business aviation.
Jeff Roberts, president of CAE civil training and services, told EBACE Convention News that his company now has a market share of about 35 percent in the segments it covers, and that, while he was not at liberty to provide specific dollar figures, “growth [at SimuFlite] since the CAE acquisition has outpaced growth in the business aviation market.”
CAE’s Dubai training center opened earlier this decade and currently offers simulator training for the Gulfstream IV and V, Hawker 800XP and Bell 412 helicopter. On the cards is an upgrade to cater to the G450 and G550 markets.
CAE SimuFlite’s strategy has been to have training centers no more than four or five hours’ flying time from operators’ bases, and the company’s four business aviation facilities in Dallas, Texas; Morristown, New Jersey (now under construction); Burgess Hill; and Dubai currently fit that bill.
While the four/five-hour circle from Dubai extends eastward only about as far as the Indian subcontinent, the level of business aviation activity in Asia does not yet justify CAE’s establishing a facility in that region. “Will we at some point have a facility in Asia?” asks Roberts rhetorically. “Yes, but the concentration today makes it difficult to justify such an investment yet. The timeframe is hard to predict and depends on the OEMs.” o