Comair Sets Industry Benchmark In South African Airline Training

Local training centre and flight simulator meet international training demands

Johannesburg, 2 February 2011: Comair Limited, operator of British Airways in South Africa and, has officially opened its new R30-million Comair Training Centre and Simulator Building in Rhodesfield, Johannesburg today.

Setting new benchmarks in airline operations and training in the South African airline industry, the Comair Training Centre is one of only a few highly sophisticated training centres on the African continent and offers the most comprehensive training solutions to local and international flight deck crew, cabin crew and flight operations personnel.

“Comair has since its inception in1946 taken pride in the high level of skill amongst its airline pilot and flight operations personnel. These extensions to Comair’s already highly successful training facilities will provide a major boost for the further development of the airline pilot skills pool in Africa and abroad,” says Erik Venter, joint CEO of Comair Limited.

At the heart of the new training facility is the new state-of-the-art Simulator Building providing for two full flight simulators. The new generation B737-800W simulator is housed in on of these bays at present.

New Boeing 737-800 Simulator

Manufactured at an approximate cost of R75-million by Netherlands-based Sim-Industries, the new Level D Certified B 737-800 simulator currently offers the most sophisticated full flight commercial airline simulator platform in the country.

Original aircraft components from companies such as Boeing, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, Smiths Aerospace and MOOG Industries were used in the manufacturing process, integrating some of the most accurate and reliable world-class simulator control and visual software. This includes an out-the-window Display System which offers some of the highest resolution images of any display technology currently on the market.

One of the unique aspects of the Sim-Industries simulator is its electro-pneumatically powered motion system. The use of high-tech components and absence of hydraulic oil systems renders the simulator safe, with increased reliability and higher fidelity. The system is substantially quieter in motion, producing very little noise pollution and making it ideal in this integrated training environment. Another major benefit is its energy efficiency – this simulator uses only an approximate 25% of the electricity used by the older generation hydraulic motion simulators.

Exclusive training environment

The Comair Training Centre has been in operation for the past ten years, offering turnkey training solutions through two distinct departments. The internal training department offers training to Comair’s own highly skilled professional Boeing 737 pilots, cabin crew and other flight operation personnel and specialises in a vast range of training solutions. (See attached fact sheet on training solutions offered by the Internal Training Department.)

A dedicated external training department develops and offers training packages to other airline operators for both local and international flight deck aircrew, cabin crew and flight operations personnel.

“We provide training for in excess of 30 different companies both local and foreign, mostly representing airline operators from Africa, the near Far East, Middle East and South America,” says Captain Glen Warden, Manager of Commercial Operations & External Training at the Comair Training Centre.

Training packages are particularly geared towards Type Training on the Boeing B737-200, 300, 400 and 500 series as well as the new Boeing B737-800 W series, and offers full training services and supplementary subjects. As part of the extensive training offerings are subjects such as Safety & Emergency Procedure Training, Dangerous Goods Management, High Speed Aerodynamics, Enhanced Ground Proximity Systems and Airborne Collision and Avoidance Systems, to name but a few (See attached information on training solutions offered by the External Training Department.)

As an IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certified airline, with full accreditation by the SA Civil Aviation Authority, the Comair Training Centre is also fully compliant with FSTD A certification.

State-of-the-art facilities

The Comair Training Centre, and the Simulator building in particular, boasts a non-conventional, dome shaped structure, which clearly sets it apart from the traditional simulator environment. Strong focus was placed on the use of glass and light steel structures in order to allow for optimal use of natural light.
“Not only does this contribute to energy efficiency, but it also plays a major role from a psychological viewpoint,” says Warden. “Historically pilots associate simulator training with a rather gloomy, enclosed environment. The modern, light and sophisticated surrounds largely contribute to an overall positive learning experience,” he explains.
Great care was taken to adhere to the strictest environmental friendliness and sustainability practices. The entire building is equipped with energy saving and motion sensor controlled lighting. The Simulator building itself is fitted with an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system that operates independently from the Eskom grid, ensuring that the training capabilities are not compromised in the event of a power failure.
The opening of the new Simulator building marks the completion of the second phase in the Comair Training Centre project. The next phase will soon see the introduction of the ATR training facilities and simulator during the second quarter of this year. This ATR full flight simulator will provide training for the ATR 42-300, ATR 42-500, ATR 72-200 and ATR 72-500 turboprop aircraft.

New Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Comair also today officially announced the acquisition of eight New-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with an additional three aircraft on lease. Comair currently operates a fleet of nine Boeing 737-300, ten Boeing 737-400 and three B737-800’s with an additional two -800’s planned for this year.

“The new 800’s bring with them a number of advantages,” says Venter. “The new aircraft are technologically more advanced, require lower maintenance and are more eco-friendly as they emit fewer carbon emissions. Consuming significantly less fuel per passenger, the 800’s are also economically more efficient,” he says.

Three Boeing 737-800 aircraft were introduced to the fleet during the course of 2010, with the gradual introduction of the additional new airplanes planned over four years. Comair’s fleet of 12 Boeing 737-200 aircraft were phased out recently, with the last of the 200’s taking their final flights in December 2010.


For further information, please contact:

Comair Ltd:

Heidi Brauer (Executive Manager: Group Marketing)
Tel: 011 921 5877
Cell: 082 557 8376

Atmosphere Communications

Pheliswa Mayekiso (Account Manager)
Tel: 021 461 2117
Cell: 084 486 0502

About Comair

Comair is a leading South African aviation company that is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange (JSE:COM). Since 1996 the company has operated the local and Southern African regional services of British Airways. Comair also operates Africa’s first low fare airline,, which celebrates its 10th year anniversary this year. This quirky brand has since inception revolutionalised air travel in South Africa by making flying much easier and affordable to customers. Launched in 1946, Comair has made global aviation history by having posted 64 years of operating profit - an aviation record that is held by no other airline. For more information, visit