Aviation systems engineering and manufacturing firm Embraer will open an aviation training centre at OR Tambo International Airport, in Johannesburg, in the first half of next year.
The facility will be the first of its kind in Africa to provide this range of training for qualified pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crew, Embraer Services and Support president and CEO Johann Bordais said in a statement on Wednesday.
The training centre will be equipped with an E-Jets full flight simulator, four flight management system simulators, a door trainer, and an over wing trainer to deliver pilot training and ground school, engineering courses and E-Jet familiarisation training for cabin crew.
When fully operational, the centre will be able to train around 2 000 aerospace professionals a year.
Flight crew and engineering technicians from Embraer operators, such as Airlink – the centre’s anchor and launch customer – and others from across the region and beyond will be trained at the new facility.
The training of new aviation professionals to address the critical skills shortages experienced in the region’s aviation environment will be a key catalyst in releasing the significant potential of the continent’s underdeveloped aerospace sector.
“Our investment in this training facility underlines the importance of the African continent to Embraer and our commitment to realising the potential for improved connectivity across the continent,” said Bordais.
Currently, Africa’s share of global air traffic is less than 3%. The International Air Transport Association predicts that, by 2034, air traffic in Africa will have grown at an average yearly rate of 4.7%, reaching a total of 294-million passengers. Seven of the ten fastest growing passenger markets over the next 20 years will be on the African continent.
“In the future, the opening of this training centre will be seen as one of the defining moments in the development of our continent’s aviation industry. Skills development and training are an essential factor in unlocking the huge potential of Africa’s market – bringing significant economic growth and the connectivity our people deserve. Airlink is proud to be joining with Embraer in this endeavour,” said Airlink CEO Rodger Foster.
The Johannesburg training centre joins existing Embraer facilities in São Jose dos Campos, in Brazil; Nashville, Tennessee, in the US; and Lisbon, in Portugal. Embraer also works with other training providers across the globe.
Embraer aircraft have been operating in Africa since 1978, when the first Bandeirante turboprop arrived on the continent. Currently, there are 150 Embraer aircraft in operation with 43 airlines in 22 African countries, performing a vital role in connectivity.