Korean Air (KAL), struggling to improve its safety record, has signed a $30 million pilot training contract with FlightSafety Boeing, a joint venture between Boeing and FlightSafety International. The carrier has suffered 12 serious accidents since 1990, leading to a management reshuffle in April.

The five-year contract, signed in Seoul on 28 June, has a cancellation clause after two years and an option to extend beyond the original five. It will involve nearly 100 instructors and managers from FlightSafety Boeing.

According to KAL, the US company will supply "all the necessary management, instructor and check pilot expertise to implement Korean Air's new flight training programme that was designed under the guidance of Delta Air Lines-from initial simulator training for new line pilots through recurrent training of veteran captains". FlightSafety Boeing will check line flightcrew proficiency every six months and will carry out all training and check rides with newly promoted captains, as well as assessing the effectiveness of emergency training procedures.

The deal includes a related sale and lease back arrangement on three of KAL's full-flight simulators: a Boeing 747-200, an MD-82 and a Fokker 100, which have been sold to FlightSafety Boeing for $9 million. Another simulator - a Boeing 737-800 to be delivered by CAE Electronics for entry into service next February - will also be sold and leased back from FlightSafety Boeing.

Meanwhile, KAL is replacing its MD-82s and Fokker 100s - used mainly on domestic routes and services to China and Japan - with Boeing 737-800s and -900s. The new 737s are to be delivered between next year and 2005. Although the airline plans to retire its three last 747 Classics this year, it will keep its 747-200 freighters for the foreseeable future.

Source: Flight International