Oman Aviation Academy (OAA), first in the Sultanate and which will become operational by next year, will train 150 Arab pilots every year.
Oman Aviation Academy shareholders’ agreement, which gives wing for establishing the landmark regional training centre, was signed on Wednesday under the auspices of Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Authority.
The agreement was entered into by Dr Dhafir bin Awadh al Shanfari, CEO of OAPFD; Ben Bridge, Airbus Helicopters Executive Vice-President, Global Business; Shaikh Rashid bin Saif al Saadi, CEO of TANMIA; Osama Mariam, CEO of Al Hosn Investment; and Captain Said bin Mohammed al Ismaili, Assistant General Manager of the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund.
The event was attended by Mohammed bin Nasser al Rasby, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defence, Majlis Ash’shura members, ambassadors of Qatar, France and the United Kingdom.
The academy is considered to be the first aviation training company to be set up in Oman, in cooperation with Airbus Helicopters.
OAA will be located at Sohar Airport and operated by CAE Oxford, a leading civil and defence aviation training company with 160 training sites in more than 35 countries.
Once it’s operational by next year, the academy will provide aviation training for national and regional future pilots. They can get an EASA Aviation Licence (ATPL), which will enable them to become pilots in regional and international airlines.
Additionally, CAE will play an important role in marketing the academy both regionally and globally through its global training network.
“We will be able to train 84 students each academic year with focus on Omani aspirants in the beginning. We will be able to take 150 trainees from across the region once the facility becomes full-fledged,” said Dr Dhafir bin Awadh al Shanfari, CEO of OAPFD.
“Most of the cadres will be offered placement by the national carrier of the Sultanate, Oman Air, while the rest will be placed with other airlines,” he added.
OAA will comprise 3,000 square metres of aircraft hangar and 4,000 square metres for students’ housing, a tower and a taxi way.
It is an Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD) project that the authority oversees in partnership with Airbus Helicopters, Oman National Investments Development Company (TANMIA), Al Hosn Investment Company and the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund.
The construction will begin in the last quarter of this year.
The academy will be equipped with nine single-engine piston aircraft and four twin-engine aircraft for flight training, and simulators.
The first phase of the academy will kick off in the last quarter of 2017.
The authority has signed a “cooperation agreement” with Sultan Qaboos University.
In October, the first group of students will begin a special foundation course developed by SQU for OAA students.
High-level state representatives hope the academy will play a key role in the development of Oman’s economy through the development of local aviation sector and training of highly skilled graduated pilots.
It will help meet needs of the Middle East for aviation professionals, which is estimated at 30,000 pilots in the next 20 years.
The academy is expected to give a boost to Suhar Airport by attracting foreign investment and providing 50 new direct jobs.
Dr Sunaidy said: “This important agreement reflects the strategic partnership between the Sultanate and the shareholder companies. It will play a key role in supplying the local aviation sector with pilots either in civil or military sector.”
On the sidelines of the event, the OAA signed a training agreement with Oman Air.
OAA will provide training for 48 Oman Air pilots every year instead of they being sent abroad for flight training.
“We thank all the participating companies and agencies supporting the academy, the Royal Air Force of Oman, Oman Air, Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), Oman Airports Management Company, Sultan Qaboos University, and Ministry of Manpower for their trust in the Oman Aviation Academy, which represents a successful cooperation and strategic partnership between government local investors and international institutions,” Al Shanfari added.
Shaikh Rashid bin Saif al Saadi said: “This partnership confirms TANMIA’s commitment to harnessing its capabilities towards the Blessed Renaissance which was started by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.”
He said this partnership is in line with the company’s principles to enter into strategic investment in various sectors that generate dynamic benefits for Omani economy and viable returns for shareholders.