One of Australia's largest flying training organisations, the Royal Aero Club of Western Australia, has purchased its neighbour at Perth's Jandakot airport, the Western Australian Aviation College, in a move that will see it expand its international commercial flight training business.

The purchase, completed in late May for an undisclosed sum, fills a gap in the Royal Awero Club's portfolio, says president Jack Gregor. The aviation college will become the group's international marketing arm as Royal Aero seeks to boost its overseas business, which now accounts for 35%.

Royal Aero plans to develop a new aviation training college at Murrayfield airfield, 45km (25nm) south of Jandakot where it has 200Ha (490 acres) of land. Murrayfield will be the base for international operations within a couple of years, says Gregor.

Meanwhile, Royal Aero's fleet replacement programme is unclear following the insolvency of diesel engine manufacturer Thielert Aircraft Engines.

It operates a 40-strong fleet including Cessna 152s, 172s and 182s, the average age of which is 25 years. Late last year it placed a 15 aircraft order for the Cessna 172 turbo diesel, fitted with the Thielert Centurion engine.

"We waiting to hear from Cessna on what will happen," says Gregor, adding instead it could take the 172S instead. "We must replace the fleet by 2010," he says.

Source: Flight International