Ian Goold/LONDON

Augsburg Airways is in talks with European regional airlines which could lead to shared ownership of simulators, initially for the Bombardier Dash 8 twin turboprop. The move comes as carriers seek to maintain competitiveness in the face of rising fuel prices and declining exchange rates, says Augsburg Airways managing director Olaf Dlugi.


The German airline is already setting up a ground-training business and now has started talks with unnamed carriers about sharing full-motion simulators.

Dlugi says that French manufacturer Alsim is developing a flight training device (FTD) for Augsburg. Computer-based training software is being produced in co-operation with Infowerk of Austria. "We don't need motion, and the [FTD] visuals can be as good as a full-flight simulator [FFS]."

Time spent in sophisticated and expensive Level D simulators can be reduced with FTDs. Alternatively, capacity could be increased by airlines co-operating on the acquisition of one or more FFSs, or in the relocation and upgrading of third-party equipment. For example, a Level C Dash 8 simulator operating "on the fringe of Europe" could be updated and moved to central Europe, says Dlugi.

At the European Regions Airline Association general assembly in Switzerland, Dlugi spoke with four potential partner operators, which together could use "at least two and a maximum of three" simulators. He has asked operators for data on their annual training needs as a basis for talks he has begun with simulator manufacturers.

In arrangements that might resemble those used in the fractional ownership of business aircraft, Dlugi believes that basic investment fees, plus usage charges can cover the cost of simulator acquisition and use. Purchase would be through standard mechanisms, such as finance leases; "raising money will be no problem".

Potential savings are still to be calculated. "We do not yet understand the cost of an upgrade or of relocating a current simulator. Savings will depend on where we locate the machine", which may be influenced by available investment incentives, says Dlugi.

Source: Flight International