Australian ab initio training provider Basair Aviation College is set to construct a new 200-student facility on the back of a major Chinese airline contract, as uncertainty surrounds its Sydney base.

Basair says it is in talks with Cessnock council in the Hunter Valley, 150km (95 miles) north of Sydney to construct a new training and simulation centre. The facility will get the go-ahead once an ab initio training contract with an as-yet unspecified "major Chinese airline" is signed, worth around A$15 million ($12 million) a year. The deal will require a refleeting of around 25-30 aircraft, says Basair managing director Darrin Ward.

Composite aircraft have been ruled out because of inadequate maximum operating temperatures for an area frequently reaching the mid-thirties centigrade or higher. The facility would be completed within two years.

The move comes amid uncertainty around the future of Basair's Bankstown Sydney Metropolitan airport home. "We've had to look at alternatives because there is no long-term future here," says Ward.

Source: Flight International