Aero International (Regional) (AI(R)) and Thomson Training & Simulation (TTS) have opened a new ATR flight-simulator centre in Bangkok, in a move to improve support for the growing number of regional carriers operating ATR 42/72 turboprop aircraft.

The Asian ATR Training Centre (AATC) opening follows certification by the French and Thai airworthiness authorities. The centre is equipped with a new TTS full-flight simulator, the software for which can be adapted to different ATR versions. The machine is certificated to level D for the ATR 72-210 and level C for the ATR 42-300/500 and 72-200.

AATC is intended to provide Asia-Pacific operators with a more convenient and affordable alternative to sending instructors and pilots to ATR's training centres in Toulouse and Houston, Texas.

"It is a very important tool for airlines in the region," says AI(R) chief executive Patrick Gavin. "There is a big turnover in pilots trained on the ATR and so more transition training is needed for new pilots and that creates a lot of expense," he adds.

Air Mandalay has contracted to use the centre, and others are expected to follow shortly. "There is a total of 12 airlines that have already signed or are in heavy discussions about using the centre," says AATC general manager Jean-Marcel Meyer.

According to Meyer, time on the AATC simulator is being sold at the same basic $650 per hour dry rate as the Toulouse centre, and needs to reach 4,500h per annum to break even.

TTS has underwritten 90% of the estimated $13 million investment, and AI(R) the remainder.

Source: Flight International