FlightSafety Boeing Training International, a joint venture commercial training operation between FlightSafety Inter-national and Boeing Enterprises, will decide next month on the final location of a UK based $85 million European training hub.

The greenfield site, located near either London Gatwick or Heathrow airports, will be the first of a planned "global network in training hubs", says FlightSafety Boeing president Wake Smith. "The new London centre will be our prime training site for Europe and the foundation of our support for customers in Europe and beyond," he adds. "London will be the largest centre and will provide training and support for other satellites in the European region."

The joint venture selected the UK capital after reviewing alternatives in several other countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands. The company also considered Raytheon's flight training centre at Gatwick before it was acquired by GE Capital Aviation Services.

Smith says that the London decision was based on the UK's economic merits and was not influenced by Boeing's campaign to win a major narrowbody order from British Airways. "It is unrelated to any BA activity and is a completely separate and distinct matter," he adds.

In a major departure from previous practice, FlightSafety Boeing is part of the US airframe company's bid for the BA deal and, if it won, would provide all pilot training for the 737s, rather than BA undertaking the work at its Cranebank training centre.

The European hub will have an initial complement of six full flight simulators when it opens for business in the first quarter of 2000. This is expected to grow quickly to fill up all eight bays in the first phase and could double to 16 "three or four years from now", adds Smith.

Although an unspecified number of the new simulators will be made by FlightSafety International, the group says other simulator manufacturers and non- Boeing aircraft types will also be involved. Plans call for new hubs in North America, Latin America and Asia, with the next deal to be announced this year.

Source: Flight International