Pilot training takes off with new A320 simulator

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    (Alpha Aviation Group Philippines launches its Airbus A320 fixed-based device, a flight simulator first of its kind not just in the country but in the whole Southeast Asian region. (L-R) Cristopher Magdangal, Asia Pacific regional director; Cherian Thomas, chairman; Capt. Odee Reambillo, head of training; Capt. Antonio Toral, accountable manager; Medardo Banatao Jr., head of operations. CDC Commdep Photo)

    CLARK FREEPORT— Pilot training in this freeport has literally taken off with more than 200 students graduating from a 15-to 18-month ab initiio (from the beginning) program or from zero flying experience to an A320 type rating from the Alpha Aviation Group Philippines (AAG).

    At the inauguration of its new, state-of-the art aviation simulator, AAG marketing manager KC Garcia also said the total package amount for the ab initio program is $82,000 but only $31,000 for the First Officer Transition (FOT) Program which is a shorter three-month course.

    Garcia explained that the ab initio program training could last 18 months depending on the weather.

    On Thursday, AAG inaugurated its recently acquired new aviation simulator which is a state-of-the-art Airbus A320 Fixed Based Simulator from Multi Pilot Simulation (MPS) adding to its multi-million-dollar investments in its facilities inside this freeport.

    AAG is described as a leading provider of aviation training solutions for the global airline industry.

    The multi-million-dollar equipment is the first to be operated in South East Asia which simulates all the functions found on board a real A320 aircraft and offers leading regional airlines an alternative solution to existing training infrastructure.

    MPS CEO and founder Dick Verburg said: “We are extremely happy to partner with AAG. MPS believes it would be able to contribute to Alpha Aviation’s efforts to train new pilots to the highest quality level. This cost effective yet high quality device from MPS ensures the highest levels of training and is an important step in the development of MPS activities in Asia.”

    The firm has poured an additional $12 million for the new training facility.

    The A320 has become the aircraft of choice for many regional airline firms, including AirAsia, Cebu Pacifi c and Philippine Airlines.

    The A320 simulator, which is fully operational and already in use, will serve as an invaluable training tool for AAG’s 240 cadets and airline partners, Garcia said.

    According to AAG Human Resource and Administration Manager Rufi na Santos, “the acquisition of the simulator was an off shoot growth within the southeast Asian airline industry, with growing demand for commercial pilots in many countries.”

    Santos said many of the graduates of training school were from other Asian and Middle Eastern countries. AAG has been operating in Clark since 2005.

    AAG’s Regional Director Cristopher Magdangal added that “the acquisition of a new MPS Fixed Based Devise is a manifestation of AAG’s fi rm commitment to deliver quality training to its customers.”

    Clark Development Corp. (CDC) Officer-in-Charge Noel F. Manankil was among the guests during the inaugural of the simulator facility on Thursday.

    Industry players have been investing in the region for the past couple of years with the most recent opening of the Airbus Training Center in Singapore.

    It was also learned that the trend in the airline industry has been to choose established and experienced players and AAG is well positioned to assist the regional airlines in their aggressive expansion plans.

    The latest investment is a commitment of AAG to continue supporting the regional airline industry, Garcia said.

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