Air transport: Air Antilles requests the COM to create a training center

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The airline company Air Antilles wants to create a training center, specifically to set up a flight simulator to train ATR pilots, the type of aircraft that performs rotations between Saint-Martin and Guadeloupe.

“Our pilots must make two stays of three days a year in an authorized training center. An airplane generates 150 hours of simulator [per year], "explains Eric Koury, principal shareholder of the Cairo group which owns Air Antilles and Air Guyane. However, there is no center in the Caribbean region. Hence his ambition to create one. “ATRs are leaders in the area. We estimate around forty the number of planes, which corresponds to 280 to 300 pilots, ”he said. The training needs are therefore significant.

The closest simulators are in Miami and Bogota, but for the director of Air Antilles, their location represents constraints. The formalities for going to the United States are "complex" and there is insecurity in Colombia. In addition, simulators are already very popular and for Caribbean airlines it is difficult to obtain satisfactory slots, says Air Antilles.

This simulator project has been nourished by Eric Koury for a long time. He had talked about it several months ago to Daniel Gibbs, who saw an opportunity for Saint Martin. “In terms of the market, the training of pilots and crews has become a major issue in the economic development of the regions, even if they do not always meet growing demand. That is why, I want to answer yes to this project and provide Saint Martin with this economic diversification tool with many positive effects, such as the accommodation of crews and trainers, "commented the President of the COM. And to add: "With this project, I see further, I see Saint-Martin as a crossroads between the Americas and the Caribbean, as a pole of excellence for training in high-tech professions."

As a partner, the Collectivity will provide land, "offer the best operating conditions for this project" and help "as it can" financially.

Daniel Gibbs and Eric Koury presented the project to the media on Thursday afternoon but no further details were given. "The land will be around the airport," said Daniel Gibbs who plans to build a hotel at the same time.

“It is a cooperation project. This is not Air Antilles' project, ”insisted Eric Koury, who found the Liat and Winair companies as a partner.

Regarding funding, the assembly remains to be done. Eric Koury wants to solicit public funds, especially European. The amount of the project is estimated at 15 million euros.

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