MAEL expands training capacity with new academy

Luton
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UK maintenance provider Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL) opened its new training academy on 17 January as the firm plans to double its apprentice intake up to around 25 trainees this year.

The MRO company refurbished an existing building at its Luton base, which served as a training facility until the late 1990s.

The site now houses two 16-seat lecture theatres dedicated to Boeing 737NG and 787 technical training as well as other classrooms for Airbus types, specialist courses and a workshop to teach manual skills.

Theoretical classes are exclusively based on electronic content, with tablet computers being used to deliver the trainees' coursework.

Monarch Aircraft Engineering Training Academy (MAETA) opted for the tablet computers to offer its courses as a mobile programme which can be delivered to third-party customers at their own facilities.

For the 787, MAETA has provided five-day general familiarisation and foundation courses. But the company plans to offer full type rating training programmes for the long-haul twinjet from May.

Specialist classes for composite repairs and fibre-optic components are to be established over the next few months.

The academy is evaluating whether to acquire 3D maintenance simulation software for the Dreamliner, which would allow it to conduct a portion of the required practical training - particularly for line maintenance personnel - in the classroom.

A decision has not yet been taken, says Mick Adams, MAEL's managing director. But he is confident that 787 visits by third-party MRO customers will provide enough opportunity for practical training.

Poland's state carrier LOT Polish Airlines and UK leisure operator Thomson Airways contracted MAEL as maintenance provider for their 787 fleets. LOT selected the MRO company directly while the deal with Thomson comes through Boeing's GoldCare aftermarket support programme, of which MAEL is a partner.

MAEL's parent company, Monarch Airlines, had ordered six 787s but cancelled the deal in 2011.

The academy has been typically taking on 12 apprentices every year, Adams says, but the MRO provider now wants to double this to 20-25 trainees.

The company is evaluating whether to launch technical training courses for the A350. Adams says the developmental twinjet is an opportunity for expansion and the academy is at a "very exploratory" stage in establishing the required training programme.