CATHAY PACIFIC Airways is to relocate most of its flight- simulator capability from Hong Kong to an Australian site yet to be decided. The move follows an A$15 million ($11.2 million) concession from the Australian Government against tax which would have been due on the company's five simulators. The first will be operational within 18 months.

Cathay's decision, prompted by the coming closure of Kai Tak Airport, was made after intense competition from the UK, Canada, China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. The new site will house one Boeing 777, one 747-400 and one 747-200; and two Airbus Industrie A330/340 simulators. An additional two 747-400 simulators will be relocated to the UK.

Two Australian state governments are now competing for the business, but Cathay's deputy director of flight operations, Capt. Mick Toller, says that the location will be based on factors such as flight frequency, the availability of crew accommodation and land costs. Melbourne and Sydney are the most likely selections for the final decision, due in mid-October.

Lured by a similar tax concession worth about A$25 million on its computer equipment, Cathay has already spent A$250 million moving its computer reservations centre to a location near Sydney, due to open this month.

The carrier also trains its pilot cadets at a South Australian flying college and has crews in Australia. Toller says that by the year 2002, about half the carriers technical crew will be based outside Hong Kong.

Source: Flight International