Beijing Pan Am International Academy in China has temporarily closed and is seeking new investors because its majority owner, financial giant AIG, is unwilling to inject more funds.

"We had an investment agreement where they were to put in an extra $15 million by August 2008 but that's the time when AIG got into trouble," says Beijing Pan Am International Academy chairman Li Zhiyun.

AIG has received a financial bail-out from the US Government but it has been told to sell assets in an effort to repay the government.

Li says AIG owns 69% of the school and "they can't [put any more money in] because we are not a core business to them".

He says "all the vital elements of the school" remain and the other owners - a mix of Chinese companies and individuals - aim to restart the school once a new investor or investors can be secured to inject $15 million.

Beijing Pan Am is looking at strategic investors such as overseas flying schools or other aviation companies, says Li, adding that it is also open to financial investors.

The school is only one of a handful in China that has China Civil Aviation Regulation (CCAR) 141 approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Training schools in China and overseas that want to train commercial pilots for the Chinese market need to have CCAR 141 from the CAAC.

Li says the school has produced 280 graduates and at its peak it had about 500 students.

He says the school has two Cessna Citation jets, 40 Diamond D40 and 18 Diamond D42 propellor aircraft.

The school caters primarily to Chinese airlines and its website shows it has campuses at Baotou, Handan and Shijiazhuang in China.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news