Horizon Flight on the prowl for opportunities

 - November 16, 2009, 1:22 AM

Al Ain-based Horizon International Flight Academy, which has assembled a fleet of nearly 30 aircraft since it was established in 2002, is looking for growth opportunities. General manager Mohammed Al Zaabi told AIN that Horizon established a second training center to north of Dubai with the signing of a contract with the Umm Al Quwain emirate in September 2008 and that it is “open to ideas for new locations in the United Arab Emirates or further afield in the Middle East and Africa.”

Horizon was created by Mubadala Development Co. of Abu Dhabi to supply pilots for UAE civil and military organizations, including its own Etihad Airways subsidiary, and now trains pilots from all over the world, said Al Zaabi. At present, 200 students are enrolled and it has trained around 320 pilots for Etihad since it started.

The firm employs 36 instructors and its fleet consists of 13 Cessna 172s, three Diamond DA42 Twin Stars for twin-engine training, three Robinson R44 and 10 Bell 206 helicopters. It is now able to offer 27,000 hours of flying training per year, said Al Zaabi. It also has three simulators, one based on the Bombardier CRJ for multi-crew training.

In addition, Horizon has received approval to offer a higher diploma curriculum, which if taken in conjunction with studies for an air transport pilot certificate takes two years to complete (compared with the 18 months required for the JAA ATPL). The company also recently has begun training female airline pilots.