Opinion

Flying Schools Bring Aviation Opportunities

Flying schools bring aviation opportunities                       The country’s newest flying school is set to operate in December. The South Pacific Aviation Training Institute (SPATI), which is to be based
21 Nov 2016 11:00
Flying Schools Bring Aviation Opportunities

Flying schools bring aviation opportunities                    

 

The country’s newest flying school is set to operate in December.

The South Pacific Aviation Training Institute (SPATI), which is to be based at Nausori International Airport, is a subsidiary of Northern Air, the country’s second biggest domestic carrier and owned by veteran pilot, Captain Rainjesh San. This is going to be the third flying school in Fiji.

Already in operation at the Nadi International Airport, are the Pacific Flying School (PFS) which was established in 1986 by the late Don Collingwood, the owner of Sunflower Airline, which was later acquired by national airline Fiji Airways (formerly known as Air Pacific).

Today, PFS is a subsidiary of Joyce Aviation (Fiji) Limited, who took over its operation in 2014.

The other flying institution, Advanced Aviation Training (Fiji), was founded in 2002 by Wayne and Deborah Hinton.

So far, over 300 commercial pilots have graduated locally and apart from Fiji Airways, Fiji Link and Northern Air most are now flying with regional and international airlines like Air Niugini, PNG Air, Air Vanuatu, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue, Jet Star, Emirates Airline, Cathy Pacific, British Airways, Etihad Airlines, Singapore Airlines.

Some have moved on to fly for private-owned jets for mining companies and oil rigs in PNG, Africa and the Middle East.

Fiji has the potential to train and produce many commercial pilots. The pilot licence they get here is recognised all over the world.

This is a big revenue source for the local flying schools to tap into.

Apart from locals, they should try to attract as many regional and Asian students who want to pursue a flying career.

With the local flying schools top training facilities, they must try to establish links with other airlines as well and be a feeder to their pilot recruitment programme, which means students getting a job as soon as they graduate.

Coming over to train in either Nadi or Nausori, could benefit the country in many ways – in particular economically.

There is a huge market out there, according to the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Asia-Pacific region will need 230,000 pilots by 2030 and will have to train approximately 14,000 people annually to meet that need.

However, the region currently only has the capacity to train about 5000 people a year, leaving a whopping shortfall of 9000 new pilots every year between now and 2030.

This is an opportunity that should not be missed. Again, we have the potential and the expertise to train and produce top commercial pilots not only in Fiji but around the globe as well.

This is something our flying schools and our education sector should proudly market overseas.

 

The other advantages are:

-Fiji is the hub of the Pacific, with ideal weather conditions throughout the year

-A vibrant aviation sector since tourism is the country’s biggest revenue earner

-Easy connecting flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Los Angeles, Australia, Korea, China, New Zealand and the Pacific region as well

-English is the main spoken language

-Fijian dollar currency

 

LEONE CABENATABUA

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 



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