Fiji Airways has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with CAE in Suva confirming the acquisition of a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft full flight simulator (FFS) for its new Fiji Aviation Academy, plans for which were announced by the Government in the 2016 National Budget.

The FFS will enable pilots from Fiji Airways and the region to train at Nadi Airport instead of flying to other countries. The simulator’s visual systems will replicate the important destination airports in the Fiji Airways network, allowing pilots to get familiar with them before flying there.

Andre Viljoen, Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, stated, “This is one of the most important developments in Fiji Airways’ and Fiji’s aviation history. We are setting up a world-class aviation training academy which will have two full flight simulators installed during Phase 1 of the project. Today’s signing for a B737 MAX full flight simulator with CAE shows that we are progressing well with our plans.

“The next step will be the selection of a full flight simulator for widebody aircraft, followed by the development in Phase 2 of an ab-initio cadet pilot training school with state-of-the-art fixed training devices,” Viljoen continued. “In the long run, the Academy will reduce the need for as many expatriate pilots and bring earnings to the country from selling simulator time.”

Both the 737 MAX and unconfirmed widebody simulator due in Phase 1 of Fiji Airways’ plans will be installed by late 2018. The airline is currently working with Government to secure a location for its aviation academy in Nadi as well as selecting its management team.

Speaking on behalf of the Fijian Government, the Attorney General, Minister for Economy and Minister responsible for Civil Aviation, the Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said, “Once the whole project is complete, Fiji will have the first such academy in the Pacific Islands, adding new economic opportunities and consolidating Fiji’s hub status.”