SINGAPORE: CAE bullish on Asia growth potential

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Canadian training equipment and services provider CAE expects strong growth for the firm in the Asia-Pacific area for 2012 despite the global economic situation.

Speaking at the Singapore Airshow, Jeff Roberts, its group president, civil simulation products, training and services, said the firm expects to sell up to 35 simulators by the end of its fiscal year in March. The majority of these simulators will be for the Asian-Pacific region, he added.

This number surpasses CAE's full-year sales in 2011, when it sold 29 simulators.

"If you look at the number of aircraft on order and delivery forecast, we are very bullish. We believe the region is going to continue to grow and expand. In aviation, you have to look at the long term. While there may be ups and downs, over time Asia is going to grow and expand probably faster than the rest of the developing markets," said Roberts.

CAE will also be increasing its training facilities in the region, from 11 to 16, over the next 18 months.

"[In] this part of the world, we've seen our investment and business revenue grow proportionately to the increase in passenger traffic, aircraft number and flight numbers. We are growing double digits annually," said Roberts.

The firm also inked a five-year contract with Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia to train more than 200 new Airbus A320 first officers under the multi-crew pilot licence programme at the air show.

All four phases of the MPL training will be done in Malaysia, including at the Asian Aviation Centre of Excellence, a CAE-AirAsia joint venture training facility in Kuala Lumpur.

Asked about the trends in training demand, Roberts said that airlines, whether low cost or legacy, are increasingly looking for flexible programmes tailored to their needs.

"More and more they're looking for wing-to-wing solutions. They want more practical, real-world training and increasingly it's about using power and capability of simulation to create scenario-based training," he added.