Boeing and FlightSafety International (FSI), parent companies of global airline-training joint venture FlightSafety Boeing (FSB) Training International, say phase one of the start-up initiative will be completed in January 1999.

The milestone will be marked by the transition of the former FSI training centre at Kunming, China, to FSB and follows the transfer, on 1 September, of Long Beach, California-based Boeing training personnel to FSB. Of the 124 Long Beach Flight Operations and Maintenance Training employees offered positions with the new venture, 120 accepted. The FSB site will remain at Long Beach.

"With the completion of these two integrations, FlightSafety and Boeing will have contributed all the assets that were intended, and this marks the completion of phase one," says FSB president Wake Smith. "It really sees the creation of a separate FSB management team. This phase is now pretty much complete," he adds.

During this period, FSB has begun the development of a network of 15 training locations around the world, with much of the focus being on international centres. This includes the selection of a yet to be finalised London-based European training hub, set to open in the first quarter of 2000, and the establishment of a similar Asian hub. "This will come on stream before the London one because we are looking to buy rather than make in that case," says Smith.

Negotiations over prospective purchases could not have come at a better time for the joint venture. "With each passing week, those folks have a pressing need for foreign investment and to reduce their capital costs," he adds.

FSB's mission is to be "the world's airline training partner" says Smith, who adds that the strategy is closely linked to the growing trend in which airlines are returning to their core business.

"I believe the training market will see a metamorphosis over the next four to five years in which it will move from an airline-provided service to a third party-provided service. Almost no-one else in the world has simulators in more than two locations, and there are only a few with simulators in more than one place.

"No-one has attempted the concept of a global delivery system, and we expect the world to beat a path to our door," says Smith.

Source: Flight International