Calgary-based WestJet Encore signed a firm order for five Bombardier Q400s in late July, raising its order total for the type to 30. The latest deal, valued at $167 million, involved the conversion of five options booked by parent company WestJet with its original order for the type in July 2012. Plans call for the airplanes to help support WestJet’s expansion into the eastern part of Canada, where it currently operates a base out of Toronto.
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Air BP is acquiring aviation fuel business Statoil Fuel & Retail Aviation (SFR Aviation) from Canada-based Alimentation Couche-Tard, the company announced yesterday. The deal will add some 73 new airports in the Nordic countries and Northern Europe to Air BP’s global fuel network of more than 600 locations. Subject to regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close by year-end. On completion, around 59 SFR Aviation employees, currently based in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, are also expected to join Air BP.
Simulator specialist CAE has just signed a contract with the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control program management organization to perform a major upgrade to the flight crew simulators that are used to train crews from the 16-nation joint force that flies the Boeing E-3A Awacs. This upgrade is being performed in parallel with a new flight deck upgrade for the 17-aircraft operational fleet.
CAE, the Montreal-based training solution provider, announced on the eve of the Farnborough Airshow winning four defense contracts valued together at approximately $110 million. The contracts are for a T-6C ground-based training system for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF); a visual system upgrade on German air force Eurofighter simulators; an image generator for a T-501Q simulator ordered by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI); and a KC-135 boom operator weapon systems trainer (BOWST) for an undisclosed international customer.
The new CAE Multi-Purpose Training Center in Brunei is close to going fully operational, following the European Aviation Safety Agency’s level-D certification of its CAE 3000 Series full-flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter last month. The facility is the result of CAE’s efforts to deliver an integrated array of training solutions in a more cost-effective manner.
CAE signed an agreement with African-based Caverton Helicopters to provide training center operation services over a six-year period. The facility will be located in Lagos, Nigeria, and is scheduled to open in the middle of next year. CAE will provide “turnkey solutions” that include the start-up, maintenance and operation of the six-simulator-bay training center. When opened, the center will have AgustaWestland AW139 and Boeing 737NG full-motion simulators and two CAE Simfinity Integrated Procedures Trainers (IPTs).
A combination of growth from new business aviation markets such as the Middle East and Asia and recovery in the more mature markets of Europe and North America has inspired flight-training provider CAE to triple investments in facilities. Half of all investment is going into new simulators. The group has been adding these at a rate of two to four each year and expects to install another 25 new units at its worldwide locations over the next five years.
Bombardier Aerospace announced Tuesday at the Regional Airline Association Convention in St. Louis that it has appointed CAE as its authorized training provider for its entire line of CRJ regional jets. Under the ATP agreement, which has already taken effect, CAE instructors will deliver CRJ aircraft flight training courses at eight locations around the world.
CAE operates 10 CRJ aircraft full-flight simulators (FFSs) in Charlotte, Minneapolis and Phoenix in the U.S; Copenhagen, Denmark; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Madrid, Spain; and Toronto and Montreal in Canada.
CAE and Brazilian helicopter operator Lider Aviaçao launched a helicopter pilot training program in São Paulo for the Sikorsky S-92. The CAE-Lider Aviaçao joint venture purchased the S-92 simulator late last year, though it was identified at the time only as an undisclosed customer. The S-92 training program under the joint venture will support flight training for all of Lider’s S-92 pilots, as well as those from other helicopter operators in the region.
Business aviation continues to grow in China and the rest of the Asia region, and the demand for pilots and technicians is stronger than ever. With a generally accepted ratio of five qualified pilots required for each business jet in service, supplying training for those pilots–and the technicians who will service the aircraft–remains one of the industry’s more profound challenges.
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