August 05, 2012 (LBO)
State run SriLankan Airlines is to take delivery of a new Dutch built Airbus A330 full flight simulator early next year increasing the airline's capacity to offer flight simulator services to regional carriers, the airline said. The new flight simulator will help train more pilots in the operation of wide-bodied Airbus A330 aircraft and provide advanced flight training services to airlines in India, Maldives, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"There is a huge dearth of pilots in the region and we see a lot of potential for flight training in the subcontinent," Captain Druvi Perera, Chief Operations Officer - SriLankan Airlines said. "We are discussing with two airlines and a training organization to offer our flight training courses," he said.
The A330 simulator is estimated to cost 13 million dollars and is likely to be bought on a ten year lease from Netherlands based SIM Industries, now part of US based Lockheed Martin, an aerospace, defence and security technology company.
The airline said the simulator certified for 'Level D' standard is identical to that of an actual aircraft and can artificially re-create aircraft flight, different weather conditions including air density, turbulence, cloud and precipitation. The device can also simulate critical failures and adverse conditions.
The A330 simulator will be jointly marketed in the region by SriLankan airlines and Lockheed Martin for the training of pilots in the operation of Airbus A330 aircraft, Sri Lankan airlines said. Sri Lankan airlines will be offering entire training courses including ground and simulator training with A320 and A330 type ratings. The market rate for hourly training on a full flight simulator is between 375 to 450 dollars, the airline said. A pilot usually gets around twenty two sessions or 90 hours on the simulator.
The A320 flight simulator installed at the airline's flight training school last year has helped to double the intake of cadet pilots, cut training costs and time Capt. Perera said. Currently SriLankan Airlines, budget carrier Mihin Lanka and third parties use the A320 simulator to train their pilots.
The device has a database of over thirty airports. "We have the capacity to train about thirty cadet pilots a year and cut costs by around fifty percent by having a simulator here," the carrier's chief operations officer Captain Druvi Perera said. "The time saved is around two to three months," he said. SriLankan Airlines said pilots mostly trained in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Hongkong, Bahrain and India before the A320 simulator was installed.
With the delivery of the A330 simulator, the transition of a pilot from one aircraft to another aircraft will be easier, Sri Lankan airlines said.