Dubai's significance as a regional centre of aviation excellence was underlined on the eve of Dubai 2003 as the first JAA and FAA-qualified flight training centre in the Middle East was officially opened in the city.

Emirates and CAE took the wraps off their joint venture as HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and the UAE's minister of defence, inaugurated the facility.

Sheikh Mohammed was joined at the ceremony by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates, and Derek Bentley, CAE's president and chief executive.

The $100 million facility is the result of a partnership formed in 2001 between the Dubai-based airline and CAE. While Emirates will use the centre to satisfy some of its own training needs, the primary focus of the operation will be on third-party business.

The pair, operating as Emirates-CAE Flight Training Centre, say they expect to generate around $30 million income a year under the terms of the 10-year agreement.

At the unveiling in front of a group of industry VIPs, Sheikh Ahmed said: "Emirates is pleased to be part of this jointly-operated centre which has been at the forefront of the development of aviation training in the Gulf.


"This facility heralds a new era in aviation in the Middle East as the first flight training centre with dually-approved type rating. Our colleagues in the aviation industry, both within the region and further afield in Europe, Asia and Africa now have convenient access to the world's highest possible training certifications."

The centre currently houses five full-flight simulators and will train up to 4,000 pilots each year equating to 6,000 training hours per simulator annually. Its customers already include Arabasco, Jet Aviation, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Middle East Airlines, Kuwait Airlines and Royal Jet as well as Emirates.

The centre simulators offer training on Boeing 737NG/BBJ, Hawker 800/800XP, Gulfstream IV, Gulfstream V, Airbus A330/A340 and Airbus A319/A320/A321/ACJ types. A second Boeing 737NG/BBJ simulator is to be installed in spring 2004,

Says Bentley: "We've built the facility to address specifically the needs of business and regional jet operators in the region. Our philosophy is to bring simulation to the market.

"Today's ceremony speaks volumes about the success of this venture.

"Most important is that we are providing greater value to the region's aircraft operators by offering the highest quality, fully certified training closer to their home base."

He adds that the Middle East and China are the two most dynamic markets for flight simulations at present.

Source: Flight Daily News