PORT Alfred’s 43 Air School has been approved as the only flight training centre in Africa to offer the Boeing ab-initio training programme, which they have named “Street to Right Seat”.
Director of international sales of Boeing Commercial Airplanes for Africa and the Middle East, Joao Miguel Santos, addressed the media at a press briefing at the air school on Tuesday.
According to Santos, this is the first time Boeing has formed a partnership with an air school to provide training for their pilots. This programme will allow high school graduates to be turned into pilots in one course.
“We are absolutely delighted with our partnership,” he said.
TOP FLIGHT: Former South African Airways training captain Laurie Kay (left) and Boeing international sales director Joao Miguel Santos addressed media about the new ab-initio training programme at 43 Air School at a press conference on TuesdayPicture: CANDICE BRADFIELD
CEO of 43 Air School Attie Neumann explained the increase in demand of Boeing pilots in Africa. He said the air school produces about 240 pilots per year.
“There is a shortage of advanced training and suitable schools which are specifically preparing pilots to for flying airliners, which is what we do. Our suitability is further enhanced through our capabilities such as three campuses, a fleet of over 70 training aircraft, over 100 instructors with over 250 000 joint flying hours and our ability to accommodate more than 300 students at any given time,” said Niemann.
Niemann said they would soon be able to train for radio work as well.
Former training captain for South African Airways, Laurie Kay, said the programme will offer a more seamless entry into flying for airlines. It will also allow South Africa to send students to the Far East, Middle East and other countries in Africa. Previous criteria such as number of hours logged have been a barrier to entry for hopeful pilots.
He believes 43 Air School is a solid foundation to help students progress to airlines. He said the symbiotic relationship between Boeing and 43 Air School would benefit each other as well as the students.
Ab-initio training includes a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) (Aircraft)(Helicopter), Integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) (Aircraft)(Helicopter), Modular Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) (Aircraft)(Helicopter), Instructor Rating, Military Pilot Training (ab-initio phase only), Aircraft Engineer Apprentice Training and English language proficiency.