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June 16, 2015 | General

New Aerospace Training Centre will help grow regional economy

(Edmonton, AB) – A new flight training simulator for Boeing 737 series aircraft is officially open for business at the Alberta Aerospace Training Centre, thanks to a partnership between Edmonton International Airport (EIA), Canadian North, Canadian Helicopters, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), and the Government of Alberta. The simulator offers training opportunities for international and regional pilots to learn flight operations and flying characteristics of Boeing 737 aircraft, the world’s most popular airliner.

The flight simulator, located in EIA’s Cargo Village, is the latest component of the Port Alberta initiative, a collaboration led by EEDC and EIA to increase the overall competitiveness and trading volume of the Edmonton Region. Following the launch of the 737 simulator, Canadian Helicopters will also install a helicopter simulator to be housed in the main passenger terminal building of EIA. The helicopter simulator, a Level 7 Airbus Helicopters AS350B2/B3e, is to open in April 2016 and will provide training for the most popular single engine commercial helicopter in North America.  These world-class training resources will position the Alberta Aerospace Training Centre at EIA as a hub for flight simulation training.

“The Alberta Aerospace Training Centre, including the Canadian North 737 flight simulator, is a great example of our aerotropolis at work,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport. “Businesses in and around the airport are coming together to provide great services to clients, which will benefit the aviation industry as a whole.”

“This is one more step in Edmonton’s growth. Canadian North and Canadian Helicopters are helping to grow our economy with this new service offering. This drives even more confidence in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region,” said Brad Ferguson, President & CEO of EEDC. “We look forward to welcoming crews from around the world to train here.”

Worldwide, simulator-based flight training programs are under pressure due to a lack of training capacity in many regions. Increasingly, international students are coming to Alberta for formal flight training. Expanding advanced simulator capacity in Alberta opens more opportunities for airline operators to access training.

“The opening of the Alberta Aerospace Training Centre at EIA is a major step forward for both Canadian North and Edmonton,” said Steve Hankirk, President of Canadian North. “We will now train our pilots more cost-effectively with our own full-flight simulator for Boeing 737-300, -400 and -500 series aircraft. Further, by offering use of this equipment to other airlines, we’ll be helping to position Edmonton as a leading aerospace training hub, stimulating even more economic activity in the region.”

“We look forward to the installation and opening of the Airbus Helicopters AS350B2/B3e flight training device at EIA next year,” said Don Wall, President and CEO of HNZ Group, parent company of Canadian Helicopters. “We believe that the introduction of this device into our training program will enhance our industry leading safety standards and we expect other operators will also avail of this opportunity. We are pleased to be a founding partner of the Alberta Aerospace Training Centre at EIA, and look forward to future growth in the region.”

These simulators will improve the competitiveness of Alberta operators, create an education and aviation training hub for Alberta, and attract new industry partnerships and investment. Efforts are underway to recruit international pilots looking to train on the 737 simulator, including promotions at the Paris Air Show.