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Oman Air launches $7.8m flight training centre

Oman Air launches $7.8m flight training centre

The facility was built in 11 months and the airline now employs 800 pilots and 1,600 crew

Oman Air has officially opened an RO3m ($7.79m) flight training centre in Muscat which will boost pilot and crew training and reduce costs.

Two full-flight simulators – from Canada-based TRU-Simulation and Training Company – along with mock-up A330 and B737s, that can be used for crew emergency evacuation and water training, mean staff can now be trained in-house, right behind the airline’s headquarters.

Pilots were earlier required to fly to Bahrain, Dubai, Jordan and even UK for their training, although B787 pilots still need to go abroad for training (four more Dreamliners are to be delivered). Training rooms feature new technology, including a ‘virtual reality’ cockpit, and one room is reserved for fire training.

The new facility was inaugurated on Thursday by Darwish Bin Ismail Al Balushi, Oman’s Minister of Finance and chairman of Oman Air to coincide with Oman National Day celebrations, but it received certification on October 9.

Oman Air’s fleet may be small compared with rival Gulf carriers but it is growing, and now stands at 45 aircraft, with two more B737s due to be delivered before the year end. A new passenger terminal will open at Muscat early 2017.

Captain Ali Sulaiman Hassan, executive vice president and chief operations officer, said: “We’re going to save a lot of money, I don’t want to say numbers but around three-quarters of the cost will be reduced.”

Oman Air’s CEO Paul Gregorowitsch said the facility was built in 11 months and the airline now employs 800 pilots and 1,600 crew. “This will be a very important investment for us.”

The airline recently introduced paid upgrades across its network. “People can choose an aisle seat or upgrade to business and it’s been positive so far,” he said.

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