Montreal, Canada-based flight training provider CAE is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its Emirates-CAE Flight Training (ECFT) center during MEBA this week. The center was created in partnership with the Emirates Group in 2002, and some 4,000 pilots per year are trained there now.
CAE is using the MEBA show to cement bonds with regional customers, both business and commercial. With about half the 3,800 business jet deliveries projected in the next five years destined for buyers outside the U.S., Lewis sees demand for training in the Middle East going forward “about three to four times the pace of North America and Europe.”
CAE (Stand 360) also announced here at MEBA 2012 the appointment of Robert Lewis as vice president and general manager of business aviation, helicopter and maintenance training. CAE created the new position following a recent reorganization from a regional management approach into separate global commercial and business aviation training divisions. Lewis most recently served as CEO of U.S.-based Pentastar Aviation, an aircraft charter/management company.
“I come from the business aviation industry, from CAE’s customers’ side. That’s what brought me here,” Lewis said. “[CAE] always had the ability to customize the training program to the individual operator better than anybody else.”
CAE’s new organizational structure will allow the company to refine its focus on both its business and commercial offerings. “They are different customers and have different training needs,” said Lewis.
CAE will add an additional Challenger 604/605 full-flight simulator to ECFT “in the next couple of months,” said Lewis, and will open a second commercial airline training center at its Silicon Oasis facility this spring, he added.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Lewis began his career about as far from aviation as possible, serving on a nuclear submarine and spending “three years underwater,” before shifting his career to aviation. Yet he sees similarities between submarine and aircraft crew training.
“When you’re out in the ocean, thousands of feet below the surface, thousands of miles from shore, there’s nobody to call” in the event of a problem, he said. “The way you react in an emergency is the way you’ve been trained. That philosophy is the same whether running a nuclear powerplant under the ocean, or a high-performance aircraft at 45,000 feet.” o
[End note] CAE will host a reception at its booth at 2 p.m. this afternoon to mark ECFT’s tenth anniversary.