Lion looks externally for training partnerships

This story is sourced from Pro
See more Pro news »

Indonesia's Lion Air is seeking to form joint ventures with international partners for its two Jakarta training schools, Wings Flying School and Lion Training Centre.

The carrier intends to raise the quality of its flight personnel by partnering with companies certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency or the US Federal Aviation Administration. The joint ventures will provide training for Lion Group airlines and third party airline customers, says Lion president director Rusdi Kirana.

In July, the Lion Group raised its firm orders for Cessna 172 trainer aircraft from eight to 20, with options for an additional 20, which it intends to convert into firm orders. These aircraft are operated by Wings Flying School, which should see 70 cadets graduate this year and 150 in 2014.

Its Lion Training Centre, based near Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, also added its third Boeing 737-900ER flight simulator, complementing the existing sole ATR 72-500 simulator.

The training centre plans to have a total of 21 simulators, adds Kirana. It will include a simulator for the Airbus A320, a type the carrier will operate in the future.

Lion Air's latest move comes after European air safety specialists raised concerns regarding the experience levels of pilots of the rapidly expanding carrier.

The airline countered that it demands more than the regulatory minimum when recruiting pilots. Its foreign first officers must have "more than 250 flights" on type, while its locally-recruited trainee first officers must have 100-150h with an experienced line-training captain before being accepted as a full first officer.

It also pointed out that this is above the 75h threshold set by Indonesia's directorate general for civil aviation.