CAE Expands Training Operations in Middle East Market

Dubai Air Show » 2013
November 17, 2013, 5:30 AM

CAE said last week it had received Level D qualification of the world’s first simulator for the Boeing 747-8 freighter, a full-flight simulator (FFS) sold to Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines International. Luxembourg’s national aviation authority awarded the simulator EASA Level D qualification. CAE also announced November 12 that it had received Level D qualifications from the FAA for its first two Boeing 787 FFSs for undisclosed North American customers.

On November 13 the Canadian aviation-training specialist released its financial results for the second quarter ended September 30. Net income attributable to equity holders was $36.6 million this quarter, compared to $34 million last year. Revenue for the quarter was $465.6 million, against $483.8 million in the second quarter last year.

“We achieved a book-to-sales ratio of 1.47 on solid order intake and our backlog reached $3.73 billion,” said Marc Parent, CAE’s president and CEO. “This includes a record $1.9 billion backlog in civil, which is indicative of our sector leadership within a robust aerospace market.”

CAE caters to a growing market. Boeing’s Current Market Outlook 2013-32 predicts that the world will require 498,000 new pilots in the next two decades, 39 percent of them in the Asia-Pacific region, and 8 percent, or 40,000, in the Middle East. CAE’s joint venture with Emirates Aviation College, known as Emirates CAE Flight Training (ECFT), was set up in 2002 to manage a flight-training facility, now one of the largest in the world, thanks to joint investments by the two companies of $260 million.

The training center is located adjacent to the Emirates Aviation College in Garhoud, Dubai, and offers 13 bays that house simulators for Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault, Gulfstream and Hawker aircraft types, according to ECFT. CAE’s 11-year relationship with Emirates now enables the joint venture to service more than 200 aviation clients, training more than 10,000 pilots and technicians a year.

EFCT set up a second simulator center in May at Dubai Silicon Oasis. The 55,000-sq-ft facility houses eight FFS training bays with Airbus and Boeing simulators featuring what the company called “breakthrough visual realism, cockpit replication and high-fidelity avionics simulation with flight and ground-handling characteristics indistinguishable from an operational aircraft.”

“Growth in the civil aviation market has driven the demand for pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crew worldwide, resulting in a shortage of qualified professionals in several markets, notably the faster-growing emerging markets, led by Asia, the Middle East and India, which have seen sustained pilot population growth,” a CAE spokesman told AIN. “ CAE has launched specific campaigns for cadet programs for some of its anchor customers to address the growth of the airlines in the Middle East as well as the requirement to have more GCC nationals in the cockpit going forward.”

The requirement for business aviation training in the Middle East has been growing steadily over the last 10 years and is expected to keep growing. “On average CAE has been adding close to one to two new training platforms per year, and new aircraft have been entering the market for Dassault, Bombardier, Gulfstream and other manufacturers. Specifically the larger business aviation planes are doing very well,” he said.

Asia is becoming a big market for Dubai, he said. He estimates that of the trainees being educated in Dubai, around 20 percent are destined to work in the Gulf, 50 percent in Europe, 25 percent in Asia and under 5 percent in the Levant.

“Emirates Aviation College is very keen to meet industry and market requirements,” said Dr. Ahmad Al Ali, vice-chancellor of Emirates Aviation College. “In order to respond to our annual student body increase of almost 15 percent, EAC is in the process of moving to a brand new campus at Dubai Academic City. The plans have been approved and in 2012 the ground breaking began.

“Designed to meet EAC’s needs for the next 10 to 15 years, the new campus will cater to up to 5,000 students and will be equipped with the latest technology to meet the needs of the future education, in addition to expanding internationally. A $38 million investment, the new campus has a target open date for phase one in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

“Emirates has spent considerable time, energy, effort and money in sponsoring its very successful National Cadet Pilot program,” said Capt. Martin F. Mahoney, senior vice president, flight training, Emirates. “Our rigorous selection and assessment process has allowed us to recruit very high quality nationals into the company, some of whom have progressed through to training and management positions.”

Industry experts have said that pilot supply is purely an issue of remuneration, and that Emirates will have to increase this to attract the pilots it needs. “With the projected pilot shortage, money will not be the only means of attracting pilots to the region,” Mahoney said. “As well as a comparable market-based remuneration, Gulf carriers have to offer an overall package which non-Gulf based pilots would find attractive as well as a safe and secure operating and living environment.”

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