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Teching a step forward

Posted 28 February 2020 · Add Comment

A fast-growing Saudi aerospace company has teamed up with a German maintenance specialist to create a school for aviation technicians. Alan Dron reports.

Saudi Arabia has taken another step towards building an aerospace sector with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create a school for aviation technicians.
The agreement, between the Saudi National Center of Aviation (SNCA) and Lufthansa Technik Shannon (LTSL) Aviation Training Academy, will explore the viability of establishing what the partners plan to be a world-class maintenance training organisation.
The aim is to locate the new facility at SNCA’s new aviation training centre at King Fahd International Airport at Dammam.
If it comes to fruition, the new maintenance school will be the largest of its type in Saudi Arabia.
“Our vision is to establish a top-class aviation centre that will match the high demand and need in the aviation industry, especially in the Middle East,” said a SNCA spokesperson. “We are committed to providing the highest quality of services to become a landmark for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region.”
Anthony Miller, SNCA’s business development director, told an audience at the signing: “We’re delighted to collaborate with another leader in aviation training. It gives us the opportunity to bring global excellence in aviation technician training to our training centre.”
This, he said, would continue SNCA’s vision of meeting both the needs of airlines and also the ambitions of anyone wishing to pursue a career in the aviation sector.
For LTSL, previously better-known as Ireland-base Shannon Aerospace, the Saudi Arabian deal represents another chapter in a long history of providing airlines with technical support.
“For the last 29 years we have trained aviation technicians to support the world’s airlines,” said LTSL Aviation Training Academy business development specialist, David Ward. “Through this relationship with SNCA we’re looking forward to exploring new opportunities to support the growing needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector with our standards and experience.”
The intention is that the new facility will have Part 147 certification and provide training, both for new technicians and for those wishing to upgrade their existing skills: “Our goal is for our technicians to be licensed, type-rated and ready for the market,” the company said.
The signing of the MoU was the latest move by the Lufthansa Technik group into the Saudi market. Earlier this year, the company won the approval of the Saudi regulator, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, to conduct maintenance on Saudi-registered aircraft.
In January, Lufthansa Technik Middle East carried out the first A-check on a Saudi-registered Airbus A320 in Dubai. The 400 man-hours procedure included a check of all flight safety-related equipment, the exchange of several components and the completion of service bulletins.
Meanwhile, SNCA is steadily building up its facility at Dammam. Its aviation academy now consists of three sections; as well as the maintenance academy that is the subject of the Lufthansa Technik Shannon agreement, there is a flight academy and a simulator facility. All three sections will create a synergy, the SNCA hopes, and become a hub for aviation training.

The scale of the kingdom’s ambitions for the aviation training centre – and the speed with which it is being set up – can be seen in the announcement at the end of 2018 to acquire no fewer than 60 aircraft from Austria’s Diamond Aircraft company for the flight-training part of the centre. This was the largest-ever purchase agreement for a Middle East training school.
These will consist of a mix of single-engine Diamond DA40NGs and the twin-engined DA42-V1s. The first aircraft were delivered earlier this year and will continue over five years.
The purchase agreement “marks a new era of aviation training in the kingdom, which is well-aligned with the kingdom’s 2030 vision”, said Miller at the time. The OxfordSaudia Flight Academy, as it is known, will train ab initio pilots for both fixed- and rotary-wing types.
“SNCA is determined to provide the aviation industry with highly qualified male and female pilots, who will be part of the development of our aviation industry and serve as an integral tool for development in the region,” he added.
 

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