The first step has been taken to establish the Saudi College of Aviation (SICA), a joint venture between Cork-based Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) and the Saudi National Aviation Firm (SNAF), based at Dammam Airport.
Captain Mark Casey, President & CEO of AFTA and Colonel Othman Al Moutairi, President & CEO of SNAF, signed a Memorandum of Agreement earlier in May.
The Saudi College of Aviation is to be based at Dammam Airport in Saudi Arabia. The construction of the college is expected to be completed at the airport in late 2016 and will have the capacity to train up to 500 pilots alongside an additional number of aviation engineering and academic students.
AFTA will begin to receive the first of these students to begin their training at their academy in Cork Airport at the beginning of 2015 until work is completed in Dammam, whereafter the student intake will be divided between both countries.
The training programme is initially focused on a Saudi national student intake with a future aim to expand its further student intake to all other regions in the Gulf.
Among some of the programs offered by SICA are pilot training, aviation engineer and technician training and aviation degree programmes.
Having signed the MOA, Captain Casey later commented, “The aviation business is moving east and Ireland must be prepared to move with it.”