The airline industry needs 590,000 pilots in the next 20 years
SimLiner will be opening an Airbus A320 full motion level D simulator training centre in Malta in December, costing €7.2 million. The SimLiner Malta Aviation Training Centre – in Luqa – will be part of AVION Group, a Netherlands-based company that has designed and manufactured the simulator in Malta and owner of AVION Training, Europe’s fourth largest pilot training organisation.
“It soon became evident that partnering with AVION was the best possible proposition. I’m proud to have managed to bring AVION Group on board and to be working with a team of extremely talented and expert individuals,” said SimLiner Ltd’s managing director and founder Vincent Ruiz.
“AVION is committed to making SimLiner a true success. Its reach goes far beyond our neighboring countries. This said, it is firstly a Maltese project,” he added.
“Despite the fact that Airbus continues to increase its sales of aircraft, the training industry is unable to cope with the demand. The airline industry needs 590,000 pilots in the next 20 years. Air Malta operates Airbus A320 and its pilots train abroad. By having the opportunity to train locally, the airline will save a considerable amount of money and we’re certain that our simulator will meet their required standards.”
The centre aims to be part of a one-stop shop for airlines and operators to send their crew and staff to train in Malta. Mr Ruiz hopes to be able to partner with all aviation stakeholders to position Malta as a training centre of excellence – not only for pilots but also for air traffic controllers, flight dispatchers and aircraft engineers and cabin crew.
“I would also like to promote aviation careers to schools and university students in Malta and hopefully lead them towards the aviation world. We have talented individuals who, too often, are simply not aware of their potential opportunities in this industry. I look forward to working closely with Prof. David Zammit Mangion, a highly respected international scholar with incredible expertise in this industry, as well as with people like Charles Pace, the director of Civil Aviation,” said Mr Ruiz, also a former airline pilot and entrepreneur.
The project started in 2014.
SimLiner’s core business will be mainly student pilot training and ongoing training for qualified pilots. All pilots are to fly the simulator each year to maintain the privileges of their airman certificates or licences. “Our core activity will be to provide an Airbus A320-type rating course as well as other courses adjacent to the type rating,” Mr Ruiz said.
The simulator, a totally new concept, is the very latest in technology. This is a zero flight time device, meaning that once the training has been completed in the simulator, the pilot can next fly the real aircraft.
When not booked for pilot training, SimLiner will be offering a number of experiences for the public and for those organisations willing to experience the thrill of flying an Airbus A320.
“As far as further plans go, we are aiming at adding potentially another simulator. It could be a Boeing 737-800/Max or another type where there is a shortage of simulator availability. While making this venture a success, we are already thinking and working towards the next leap forward,” Mr Ruiz said.