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30/05/2019 12:00 a.m.
A young New Zealand Airline Academy, based at Oamaru Airport, will soon train the pilots of the world’s fastest growing commercial carrier.
An event in Bangalore, Southern India, yesterday has launched a partnership between the New Zealand Airline Academy and AirAsia India, with the companies entering into an agreement to commence training commercial airline pilots for AirAsia India at Oamaru airport. After considering multiple potential training sites throughout the world, and with Melbourne and Ōamaru being the final contenders, Ōamaru was ultimately successful in attracting AirAsia India commercial pilot training, much to the delight of NZAA Director Jonathan Manuel, representing NZAA at the event.
Mr Manuel said, “It gives us immense pleasure to be associated with Air Asia India on this initiative of providing high quality pilot training in New Zealand”.
Waitaki District Mayor, Gary Kircher also attended the launch, to help cement the relationship between the companies, and the district. “This is a fantastic ‘good news’ story for the Waitaki district, for the region and for New Zealand as a whole,” he said. “This AirAsia India contract may lead to further international airlines seeking out NZAA’s world class services.”
Mr Manuel said, “AirAsia is the world’s fastest-growing airline amongst all commercial carriers with fleets larger than 20 aircraft. It has a 450+% growth rate, measured in terms of existing fleet, and orders for new aircraft. The need for new pilots is immense, and our people can help deliver them.”
The Minister for Trade and Export Growth arranged for the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi to attend the Air Asia India announcement in Bangalore/Bengaluru, with Mr Andrew Traveller (Second Secretary) and NZTE Trade Commissioner Ralph Hays in attendance.
The contract is one a trifecta of successful aviation moves on the part of Waitaki District Council, which was first successful in attracting the New Zealand Airline Academy (NZAA) to establish international commercial airline pilot training operations at Ōamaru Airport in 2018. In addition to their airport activities, the Academy has recently installed a 737 flight simulator in the Heritage Quarter of Ōamaru.
International commercial airline pilot training would begin as early as August this year, with 15 AirAsia India pilot cadets expected in the first intake. Worth millions of dollars to the district’s economy over the contract term, job growth in the highly valuable aerospace sector is also anticipated. When asked ‘Why Ōamaru?’, Mayor Kircher said it was the winning combination of NZAA’s outstanding technical excellence, their investment in a 737 simulator, acquisition of highly-spec’d aircraft, the unrelenting attention to detail by Council CEO Fergus Power and his staff, and the support of the Councillors that ultimately meant Ōamaru ‘won the day’. “The fledgling company is growing its feathers and taking flight in the competitive world of pilot training. This result sees it soaring high in its global market, and we are proud to have them in Waitaki!”
Mr Power was equally pleased with the announcement. “We have an excellent team of people at Council who have gone the extra mile to support NZAA in its aspirational bid. It wouldn’t have happened without the strong credentials of NZAA and its directors, and I’m very pleased to have our team play a strong supporting role to bring this win to our district.”
Related link: New Zealand Airline Academy website