Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Air Astana To Open Training Center With U.S. Partner Aerosim Technologies

Travel/Distribution Systems
Aviation Daily May 11 , 2010 , p. 12
Neelam Mathews

Kazakhstan’s national carrier Air Astana is adopting a long-term training strategy as it grows in Central Asia. Through its new partnership with U.S-based Aerosim Technologies, the airline will soon establish a Pilot Training Centre in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Air Astana says it will save about $400,000 a year on training costs.

Through this tie-up, Air Astana will become the first airline from Asia and Europe to acquire Aerosim’s Enhanced Virtual Procedures Trainer (EVPT) for training and developing flight operations of Airbus A320 pilots.

Aerosim’s Enhanced Virtual Procedure Trainer is designed to optimize training time and improve the learning process for pilots and maintenance personnel.

The airline has also launched a pilot instructor program in cooperation with Delta Air Lines in Atlanta. Thirteen Air Astana pilots are already certified as instructors, and another 30 are taking part in the program.

“Safety is the No. 1 priority for Air Astana, with its pilots having to meet stringent requirements at every stage of training. With the fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft continuing to grow and the arrival of the Embraer 190 in 2011, we need to adopt a long-term pilot training strategy which meets international standards,” said Tom Nichols, VP-flight operations.

With flight controls and a visual system, training in the EVPT will enable pilots to perform ground operations and inflight training, including skills needed to handle electronic, hydraulic, navigation or radio systems failure. An additional training device for the Boeing 757 and 767 is also being installed, and one for the E-190 will be introduced in 2011.

Two years ago, Air Astana launched ab initio training program for pilots, open to Kazakh nationals aged 18-29. The selection of future pilots is conducted on a regular basis, with 24 cadets currently in the program. All cadets are in training at Pilot Training College, PTC, a U.S. flight school at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla.

Air Astana is a joint venture of Kazakhstan’s national welfare fund Samruk Kazyna (51%) and BAE Systems PLC (49%). The airline operates a fleet of Airbus narrowbodies, Boeing 767-300ERs and 757-200s, as well as Fokker 50 aircraft.

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