Emirates-CAE Flight Training (ECFT) claims to be the only company to offer both business jet and airliner simulators under one roof – reflecting the region’s two booming aviation sectors.

CAE Simulator

The joint venture between the airline and the Canadian simulator manufacturer and training provider opened months before 9/11 with two machines, but has expanded quickly on the back of rapid growth of the Gulf’s business aviation and civil fleets.

The Dubai facility has seven simulators – an Airbus A320 and an A330/A340, as well as two Boeing 737s in the civil sector; for business aircraft it offers a Gulfstream 400 and 500 and a Hawker 800. Another A320, a Boeing 777 and a Bell 412 helicopter simulator will be added soon, taking the total number of machines to 10.

Although Emirates is a part-owner of the business, ECFT does not train Emirates pilots. The airline has its own facility next door. Instead, the region’s other airlines – Etihad, Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Air Arabia – are its biggest customers, although Etihad plans to open its own training centre (in a neat squaring of the circle, CAE’s manufacturing division is supplying two simulators).

However, in terms of hours, business aviation is the biggest user of the facility, with 60% of overall simulator time. The sector is booming, says managing director Dave Barette, largely because of Dubai’s appeal to business aviation pilots. “The airline market is a local one, but for business aviation, our customers come from an entire hemisphere, an area stretching from South Africa to China and Europe to Australia,” he adds.

Jet Aviation sends all its Boeing Business Jet and Gulfstream G400 and G500 pilots to train at the centre. “We market the appeal of Dubai as a location,” says Barette. “We put a lot of emphasis on the ambience and the service, but it’s not a difficult place to persuade pilots to come to.”


Source: Flight International