Cebu Pacific, CAE Inc. build flying school in Clark Freeport
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is seen emerging as a major aviation training hub in Southeast Asia as the region tries to cope with the supply needed to sustain its growing air travel sector.
On Tuesday, leading budget carrier Cebu Pacific broke ground for its new Philippine Academy for Aviation Training (PAAT) in Clark Freeport, Pampanga, which has been seen boosting the country’s capability to offer quality but affordable training for local and overseas students.
The new facility, estimated to cost $50 million, is a 50-50 joint venture between Cebu Pacific and Canada’s CAE Inc., one of the world’s leading aviation training suppliers.
“We look forward to making the Philippines’ vibrant aviation industry become the hub for highly skilled, highly competent aviation professionals,” Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei said on Tuesday.
The new facility will not only serve as the main training center for Cebu Pacific’s own staff, but will also take on the training of other professionals from other companies.
The PAAT is targeted to start operations by the third quarter of 2012.
Facilities like the PAAT are needed to produce enough pilots and other air industry professionals for the expected growth of airlines in the Asia Pacific region. Flight attendants are also expected to be able to train at the PAAT.
The latest report by the Airbus Global Market Forecasts indicate that 34 percent of total global aircraft orders are set to be delivered to Asia, with the biggest demand coming from economic giants like China and India. This translates to about 9,160 planes from today up to 2030.
About 60 percent of these planes are single-aisle, short to mid range aircraft, similar to the Airbus A320 planes that make up most of Cebu Pacific’s fleet. This means the region will need 70,000 new pilots until 2030.
“Given this requirement, not only new pilots will need to go through training, but all licensed pilots will be required to undergo recurrent training every six months,” Cebu Pacific said in statement.
Gokongwei said the new PAAT would serve as a training center for airline employees from across the region. Aside from the Philippines, there are also similar training centers in Malaysia and Shanghai, both also operated by CAE.