By acquiring Oxford Aviation Academy, simulation and training giant CAE has accelerated the process of consolidation in the fragmented world of aviation training. In sheer size it is up there with FlightSafety International and Boeing's training division, but it has a wider spread of capabilities than either, from ab initio to airline recurrent training.
If this huge organisation works well - and there is no reason why it should not - it will be one of the principal providers of the air transport industry's future life-blood: expertly trained professional pilots and engineers. The airlines themselves have not been preparing for a future in which more skilled personnel than ever before will be required.
As the citizens of the world's emerging giant economies - particularly China - gain the disposable incomes they never had before, demand for air travel is going to boom. But it cannot do so without sufficient trained instructors, pilots and engineers.
A global vision of the industry's skilled personnel needs and how they can be met is desperately lacking. Perhaps a global training empire such as CAE will be better able to "think big" than the old fragmented system of civil and military suppliers. CAE recognises this unprecedented opportunity, but let us hope it, and its competitors, and the airlines, also recognise the need for unprecedented levels of investment.
(This article first appeared as the second comment in Flight International 22 May)