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Airbus to open training centre as A320 deliveries gather pace

NEW DELHI: Airbus plans to open its training centre in India, the first it will fully own and run in Asia, next year as deliveries of the A320 neo (new engine option) gain pace — Indian carriers will be getting at least one new plane a week over the next decade, the company said.

The facility will have an initial annual training capacity for 800 A320 pilots and 200 technicians. In the first phase, it will have two simulators, which can be increased to four depending on demand.

“Based on our order book, Airbus will be, on an average, delivering one aircraft per week for 10 years from now,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders, who was in Delhi for the centre’s ground-breaking ceremony.

“These are only single-aisle aircraft order, which will further increase once there is interest in our medium-haul and long-haul aircraft too. This training centre will be the first such facility fully owned by us in Asia. It is a symbol of our enduring partnership with this country.”

The facility, which is being built on about an acre of land adjacent to Delhi airport’s Terminal 3, will be used to train pilots from IndiGo, GoAir and Vistara, which operate all-A320 fleets. Airbus has more than 250 aircraft in service in India and has an order backlog of more than 550 A320 aircraft from IndiGo and GoAir.

Vistara on Friday signed a five-year training agreement with Airbus Group India for A320s. Having the centre in India will help save on the cost of sending pilots abroad for training, but Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeoh, who was present at the event, declined to put a number to this.

Enders said India is the fastest-growing domestic aviation market in the world and is “expected to continue to grow at an annualised 9.3% over the next 20 years, outpacing the world average of 4.6%” but Airbus does not have any plans of opening an aircraft assembly line in the country.

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