The Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD) has signed a shareholders agreement regarding the Oman Aviation Academy (OAA) with Airbus Helicopters, Oman National Investments Development Company (TANMIA), Al-Hosn Investment Company and the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund.

The agreement was signed by OAPFD’s CEO, Dr. Dhafir bin Awadh Marai Al Shanfari; Ben Bridge, EVP Global Business at Airbus Helicopters; Sheikh Rashid Bin Saif Al Saadi, CEO of TANMIA; CEO of Al-Hosn Investment, Osama Mariam; and Captain Said bin Mohammed Al Ismaili, Assistant General Manager of the Ministry of Defence Pension Fund.

The OAA is one of OAPFD’s Partnership for Development (PFD) programme projects and marks the first aviation training company established in Oman, in cooperation with Airbus Helicopters. The academy will be based at Sohar Airport and operated by CAE Oxford, allowing pilots to gain an Ait Transport Pilot License (ATPL) from EASA, after which they will qualify for work with both regional and international airlines.

The OAA will have the capacity for 150 trainees. It will include a 3000sqm aircraft hangar, an area of 4000sqm for the student housing, tower and a taxi way. Construction will begin in the last quarter of 2017 and will be equipped with nine single engine piston aircraft and four twin-engine aircraft for flight training and simulators.

The first phase of the academy will kick off in the last quarter of this year. The OAPFD has signed a cooperation agreement with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and in October 2017 the first group of students will begin a special foundation course developed by SQU for OAA students.

As the shareholders agreement took place, the OAA also signed a training agreement with Oman Air, under which the OAA will provide the training required for 48 of the airline’s each year. Previously, they would have had to undergo training abroad.

Paul Gregorowitsch, Oman Air’s CEO, declared, “Under this arrangement, the first group of Omani cadets jointly sponsored by the Oman Aviation Academy and Oman Air will receive training under the cadet pilot programme to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) / Integrated Rating (IR) with frozen ATPL.

“Oman Air will greatly benefit through training the cadets in its state-of-the-art facility based at Oman Air’s headquarters in Muscat, ensuring efficient Omanisation requirements.”

The academy is expected to attract more than 80 trainees each academic year, with CAE marketing the OAA both regionally and globally through its global aviation training network. It will also enhance the operational role of Sohar Airport, attracting foreign investments and providing around 50 new direct jobs.

Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the OAPFD, stated, “We hope that through this project, the Sultanate will be the first destination for neighbouring and regional countries to benefit from the training and educational services in the aviation sector.”

Dr. Dhafir bin Awadh Mari Al Shanfari, added, “We thank all the participating companies and agencies supporting the Academy, the Royal Air Force of Oman, Oman Air, Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), Oman Airports Management Company, Sultan Qaboos University, and Ministry of Manpower for their trust in the Oman Aviation Academy, which represents a successful cooperation and strategic partnership between government local investors and international institutions.”

“Being in Sohar with the current flight expansion from Salam Air and Qatar airways will further enhance the business prospects and the growth of the academy,” concluded Osama Mariam.