Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA), the Middle East's largest helicopter operator, will this year open the region's first dedicated helicopter training centre. The new 7,250 square metre facility in Khalifa City will provide multi-product training for its ADA's own in-house requirements and thos of third party operators.

The imminent opening was confirmed by the company's chairman, Nadir al Hammadi who said the facility, construction of which began last year, will have a complement of at least 12 simulators when in full utilisation, with two simulators - one for an AW139 and another for the Bell 412 - already purchased for start-up.

"The rest of the business will be a combination of leasing some of the bays to joint ventures with some OEM's," explained Al Hammadi.

ADA plans to evolve the centre into an international hub for helicopter training. "It will offer multi-product training for our own pilots, including Emirati recruits who come to us from the Armed Forces, and is available for third party training," explained Al Hammadi. "Clients in the Middle East will be able to use this facility instead of going to European facilities."

ADA operates a fleet of 60 helicopters and four fixed-wing aircraft. It employs over 1,200 people, including 150 pilots and 283 engineers and technicians providing offshore oil support and other services worldwide, with a core focus on Abu Dhabi's oil and gas production sector. Its current service offering also includes VVIP passenger transportation services, Search & Rescue services for the United Arab Emirates, crop spraying, aerial construction, seismic support, health emergency medical services in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, fire fighting in Spain and third party maintenance support.