Cathay Pacific Airways has ordered a Bombardier Learjet 45 for use in pilot training, and has taken an option on a second business jet.


The first of the Learjets will be delivered in the third quarter to BAE Systems Flight Training (Australia), which will operate and maintain the aircraft on behalf of Cathay at its Parafield flight school near Adelaide, South Australia.

BAE, which already performs ab initio pilot training for the airline, will use the Learjet to train second officers progressing to the rank of first officer and first officers progressing to captain. BAE currently charters Cessna Citations to provide Cathay pilots with transition training. The Learjet 45 was chosen because its cockpit technology is similar to that in the airline's commercial fleet. Cathay's aircraft will be configured for the training role with a third crew seat.

Cathay is expanding its fleet and recruited more than 200 pilots last year. A further 200 will be hired this year, says Cathay. During 2001, 131 second officers and 95 first officers will go through transition training. The Learjet is expected to be operated for over 1,000h a year.

Singapore Airlines was the first to use the Learjet 45 for commercial pilot training. The carrier operates four, which replaced the Learjet 31As previously operated. Other business jets operated in the advanced training role include Raytheon Beechjet 400As.

Source: Flight International