Indonesia's Sriwijaya Air building pilot training school

Jakarta
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Indonesian carrier Sriwijaya Air is adding eight more aircraft and is building its own flying school and flight simulator training centre.

Sriwijaya currently has 23 Boeing 737s of which 13 are -200s and the rest are -300/400s but later this year and early next year it is adding five -300s and three -500s, Sriwijaya's president director Chandra Lie tells ATI in Jakarta.

He says it is buying the -500s from Aero Nusantara International, which already leases the carrier -200s, and three of the -300s are coming from GE Commercial Aviation Services and the other two -300s are coming from Malaysian company Admal.

In 2010 the carrier hopes to also add Boeing 737-800s on lease and use this newer aircraft type to launch services to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur and Perth, says Chandra. The service to Australia will be on the Bali-Perth route.

This year the airline is aiming to carry six million passengers and achieve revenues of 3.3 trillion rupiah ($327 million), he adds.

To support its long-term growth the carrier is investing in pilot training.

Chandra is from the Indonesia island of Bangka, off the south coast of Sumatra, and he is building a flying school at the airport that serves the island's largest city Pangkal Pinang.

He says the flying school opens September this year and it is now looking at whether to buy two Cessna 172s or two Piper Warrior III propellor aircraft. "Two to begin with but we eventually want four," he adds.

The simulator training centre, meanwhile, will be in Jakarta. It is now under construction and is due to be completed in November or December.

Sriwijaya has already bought a 737-200 flight simulator and will start using it in August in a temporary facility before moving it to the purpose-built simulator training centre which will have six bays, he says.

It is now also looking to get a 737-300 simulator and eventually plans to get a 737-800 and Airbus A320 simulator, says Chandra.

The complex will also includes classrooms, accommodation and a mock-up of a 737 cabin for cabin crew training, he says.

Chandra says the simulator training centre, other training facilities as well as the flying school in Pangkal Pinang will all be open to third-party customers.