SIA and Airbus to open pilot school in Seletar

Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong (left), and Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Bregier at the Singapore Airshow on 12 Feb 2014. Singapore Airlines is joining forces with plane manufacturer Airbus to set up a pilot school
Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong (left), and Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Bregier at the Singapore Airshow on 12 Feb 2014. Singapore Airlines is joining forces with plane manufacturer Airbus to set up a pilot school at Seletar Aerospace Park. -- BT PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN 

Singapore Airlines is joining forces with plane manufacturer Airbus to set up a pilot school at Seletar Aerospace Park as it seeks new ways to grow revenue.

The two companies want to tap the growing demand for cockpit crew, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, where carriers are adding aircraft at an unprecedented pace.

In a joint announcement at the Singapore Airshow yesterday, the partners revealed that the $80 million Airbus Asia Training Centre will be 55 per cent owned by the European plane maker and 45 per cent by SIA.

The centre will offer simulator training for operating the single- aisle and wide-body Airbus aircraft, including the A-320 and A-380 superjumbo.

Training will also be provided for piloting the A-350, which is due to enter into commercial service later this year.

No date was given for when the facility will be ready.

However, in the meantime, SIA and Airbus will start offering their training programmes at the existing SIA Training Centre near Changi Airport.

SIA's chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said at the event: "Demand for air travel is forecast to continue growing steadily in the Asia-Pacific region and the joint venture will help the industry keep pace with training requirements."

UOB Kay Hian analyst K. Ajith called it "a step in the right direction" for SIA.

Referring to SIA's stakes in budget carrier Tigerair and Virgin Australia, he added: "I'm pretty sure the returns on this investment are going to be better than the returns on recent airline investments."

The new training facility will be Airbus' fourth in the world, following existing facilities in Beijing, Miami and Toulouse.

Airbus also announced yesterday the latest order that it had secured for the A-380. It said leasing firm Amedeo had signed up for 20 of the aircraft.

KARAMJIT KAUR