ATR opens first training centre in Africa in partnership with Comair

International turboprop manufacturer, ATR, today announced the opening of its first training centre in Africa in partnership with South African airline, Comair. The centre, to be based in Johannesburg, South Africa, will be operational in April 2011. It will be equipped with an FFS (Full Flight Simulator) and will provide training for ATR 42-300, ATR 42-500, ATR 72-200 and ATR 72-500 aircraft. The announcement was made at the Africa Aerospace & Defense Airshow in Cape Town.

ATR’s decision to open this training centre is due to its growing presence on the continent, both in terms of an increased number of operators and aircraft. Today, 80 ATR aircraft are being operated by 29 carriers in 20 African countries. Since 2005, ATR has received orders for some 50 new aircraft for African carriers.

In order to ensure optimal operation of the training centre, ATR has partnered with Comair in this venture, and the training centre will be housed at the new, world class simulator facility under construction at Comair’s operations centre in Johannesburg. With this association, ATR will benefit from Comair’s support facilities and logistics and Comair will also provide ATR with technical support for the maintenance of the new training programmes.

ATR will provide flight and maintenance training programmes, pedagogical tools and instructors when requested by airlines. ATR African operators will also be able to dry lease the simulator and train their pilots and maintenance crew at the Johannesburg ATR Training Centre with their own instructors.

Jean-Pierre Cousserans, ATR Senior Vice-president of Customer Services, said: “The opening of this new training centre is a step forward in our regional policy. We are increasing our customer services network worldwide in order to get closer to our operators. We are proud to partner with Comair, a well-respected carrier which also has extensive experience in training. The African market needs highly-skilled pilots in order to support the phenomenal growth of regional routes across the continent. We will be glad to contribute to this growth by providing high-quality training services to the airlines. Johannesburg, as a major African hub, offers an optimal location for setting up our new training facilities, as it can be easily reached by air from major African cities.”

Erik Venter, joint CEO of Comair Limited, said: “Comair has provided classroom and simulator training for its own Boeing 737 pilots as well as external customers for over ten years. We are proud to partner with ATR in the opening of its African Reference Training Centre (RTC), to be housed in our new simulator facility under construction at our operations centre in Johannesburg. The investment by ATR will provide a much needed boost for the development of the airline pilot skill pool in Africa, and complements our own training programs.”

There is a definite need for professional airline pilot development in Africa, and to this end ATR and Comair share a common vision for the development of highly skilled professional pilots. On offer will be a full range of pilot type ratings, recurrent and proficiency training, to cabin crew and technical training. ATR will be in a position to offer clients a full training solution on the ATR-42/72 turbo-prop aircraft whilst Comair can offer turnkey medium jet aircraft training, ranging from pilot type ratings, recurrent and proficiency training, to cabin crew and technical training. This is particularly well suited to African airlines that do not enjoy the privilege of having their own training facilities.


About ATR:

Formed in 1981, ATR has grown to become the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced 50 to 74 seat regional turboprop aircraft. ATR is a joint venture and equal partnership between major European aerospace companies Alenia Aeronautica (a Finmeccanica company) and EADS. Its headquarters are in Toulouse, southern France and in 2009 the company generated a record turnover of US$1.4 billion (€1.1 billion).

ATR has sold more than 1,000 ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft, which are used by over 160 operators in 90 countries. These have accumulated a total of around 18 million cycles.

ATR is certified to ISO 14001, the worldwide standard for environmental management and sustainability.

ATR has developed a strong presence worldwide, which includes customer support centers, spare parts warehouses, and training centers. Today, ATR counts training facilities in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - opened in 2008, Bangkok (Thailand), Bangalore (India) and Toulouse (France). ATR is about to open a new Training Center in Toronto (Canada) and Paris (France), and will further develop its training facilities in Bangalore with an additional simulator before the end of the year.

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About Comair Limited:

Comair Limited (Comair), an IATA listed carrier with a full IOSA safety accreditation, is a listed aviation company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Comair operates British Airways in South Africa, and low lost airline, kulula. Comair is the only known airline to have achieved operating profits for 65 consecutive years – the entire history of the company.

The Comair Training Centre (CTC) is fully sanctioned under Part 141 (Aircrew Training Organisation) in terms of the SA Civil Aviation Regulations. In addition to offering a full turnkey training solution, Comair serves in excess of 30 different regular airlines in all disciplines through its training department.

The Comair Training Centre comprises not only classroom, briefing and mock-up facilities, but also houses simulators of type B737-200, B737-3/4/500. By year end, a state-of-the-art B737-800W full flight simulator will be operational in the newly erected extension to the Training

Centre. The new B737 NG FFS will be certified by the European JAA and SA CAA to a Level “D” certification, thus permitting a “Zero Flight Time” (ZFT) training” capability.

Comair is particularly well versed in dealing with a multitude of clients’ needs, ranging from afar a field as South America, Asia, Middle East and naturally Africa and Southern Africa

Contact Details:

Atmosphere Communications

Annemie Krause (Account Manager)
Tel: +27 (0) 21 461 2117

ATR Communications

David Vargas (ATR Media Relations)
Tel: +33 6 86 34 21 71

Comair Communications

Glen Warden (Manager Commercial Operations & External Training)
Tel: +27 (0) 11 921 0413