I caught up briefly with AirAsia CEO and founder Tony Fernandes on the fringes of IATA’s annual meeting last week and, being in Kuala Lumpur, he arranged for me to visit the airline’s HQ and its training centre.
And what an impressive set-up it is. Opened in 2003, the AirAsia Training Academy is a joint venture operation with training and simulator outfit CAE.
It already houses four Airbus A320 full-flight simulators, a Boeing 737 device and an A330 (which I landed without smashing it too hard into the runway at KLIA).
AirAsia is also in talks to acquire up to another 10 simulators. “With our growing fleet here at AirAsia we need more sims. Today we are running 24/7,” said Shamuz Jeyaseelan, operations supervisor at the Academy.
In this shot (below right), Shamuz sits at the controls of the A330 simulator alongside AirAsia public relations executive June Chow.
The academy also has a full size pool for water evacuation drills and intriguingly a “grooming room”. Decked out like a theatre dressing room, this is where flight attendants are taught how to dress in AirAsia’s bright red uniforms, and also pick up make-up and hair style tips.
AirAsia needs to have a large training regime for flight attendants as it fleet grows. It is currently training three batches of up to 25 people every month. Here are Shamuz and June on the catwak in the grooming room.
For more on AirAsia, read the Airline Business cover interview with Tony Fernandes.