Etihad acquiring Horizon arm to set up training school

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Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways is planning to acquire part of Horizon International Flight Academy in order to set up a flight-training school in the United Arab Emirates.

It is taking over the fixed-wing arm of Horizon, which is part of investment group Mubadala Development.

Etihad already uses Al Ain-based Horizon to train its own commercial pilots. It has not given the terms of the transaction.

Under the agreement Etihad Flight College will acquire 13 Cessna 172s and three Diamond Aircraft DA42s. It will also take over two flight-training simulators as well as hangars.

The college will put in place a multi-crew pilot licence programme, says Etihad, which claims it will be the first to use multi-engined aircraft in the core of the training scheme.

“We are committed to developing a world-class facility which combines new and best-practice training programmes with high-calibre instructors,” says Etihad chief James Hogan.

“The training facility will enhance the career opportunities in aviation, especially for UAE nationals.”

All of the Horizon fixed-wing instructors, as well as a number of support personnel, will transfer to the Etihad college.

Horizon will retain its rotary-wing operation. Chief executive Hareb Al Dhaheri says the divestment will allow the company to “focus on developing its future core business”.

Etihad is expanding its newly-established aviation group and recently agreed to acquire maintenance operation Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies from Mubadala.