Saudi National Company of Aviation (SNCA) has established CAE-authorized training center OxfordSaudia at its aviation center at Dammam Airport. The new flight academy will provide ab initio training to cadets in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. "We start flight training [in November] with 33 students and more than 30 the [following] month,” CEO Larry Wade, OxfordSaudia CEO, told AIN.
The intention is also to launch new dispatch, maintenance and cabin-crew training programs in the coming months as a result of partner agreements. “We will [also] be announcing our plans for a Type Rating Training Organization (TRTO), in conjunction with one of our partners at the Dubai Airshow,” Wade said.
At Dubai Airshow 2017, SNCA and CAE announced an agreement to jointly create OxfordSaudia. CAE is to provide cadet training, such as commercial pilot license curricula and courseware; the training of staff and instructors; and safety and quality control systems. Worldwide, CAE claims to train over 220,000 civil and defense crewmembers, and more than 135,000 pilots, each year.
Today, OxfordSaudia has over 700 cadets in a foundation program. While students are from all over the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Europe and the U.S., the majority come from Saudi Arabia. Wade said no other school offered the level of ab initio pilot training OxfordSaudi provided, at a cost of SAR350,000 ($93,000), making it one of the most competitive schools in the kingdom.
“We currently teach a foundation program comprised of math, physics, English, aviation terminology and group exercises [Pre-CRM],” Wade said. “We will be offering flight training (private, instrument, commercial, and A320 Type Rating) starting this month.”
In time, SNCA intends to provide training for all aviation disciplines, including ticket agents, travel agents, ground-handling, catering, and aviation management.