SIA to set up second pilot training school in joint venture with global aviation firm

In an announcement on Thursday, SIA said it has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with CAE Inc to set up a flight training facility in Singapore.
In an announcement on Thursday, SIA said it has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with CAE Inc to set up a flight training facility in Singapore.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) is setting up a second pilot training school, as it continues to venture into new businesses to cushion the impact of a tough operating environment.

In an announcement on Thursday, SIA said it has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with CAE Inc to set up a flight training facility in Singapore.

The new firm, to be equally held by SIA and CAE, will operate out of the Singapore Airlines Training Centre (STC) located near Changi Airport. It is expected to be operational by year-end.

The joint venture will initially focus on providing simulator training for Boeing aircraft types, supporting SIA Group airlines and other operators' pilot training needs in the region.

For a start, SIA will transfer four of its full-flight Boeing aircraft simulators to the venture, while additional CAE-built training equipment will be acquired progressively.

In April 2016, SIA opened its first pilot training school at Seletar Aerospace Park, in a joint venture with plane-maker Airbus. When fully operational by 2019, the 9,250 sq m facility will be Airbus' biggest training centre.

With the forecasted economic development in the Asia-Pacific, travel demand in the region is expected to grow with airlines taking delivery of large numbers of aircraft, SIA said.

This is expected to increase the overall demand for pilots.

The new initiative "is in line with our push to drive revenue-generation from new adjacent businesses" said SIA's chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

The development is the latest in a slew of initiatives by SIA in the last few years to transform its business amid tough competition in all market segments.

Apart from expanding in the budget travel sector with the launch of Scoot in 2012, SIA also has a 49 per cent stake in Indian carrier, Vistara, which started operating in 2015.

The transformation is ongoing, Mr Goh said in May.

He declared then that SIA was undertaking a major review of its business and was open to shifting the balance of power away from its trademark premium carrier to its regional and budget airlines if necessary.

While some analysts are not sure that SIA is doing enough to fend off competitors, including the Middle Eastern carriers, Mr Goh has said repeatedly that he is confident the steps taken in the last few years have put the airline on the right path.

Last month, SIA reported a return to profit in the three months ended June, 2017, after a surprise loss in the quarter before that.

The main parent carrier and all other divisions, including Scoot and SilkAir, posted operating profits, which helped boost net income to $235 million.