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Whanganui district one step closer to becoming country's aviation capital...

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA) has been awarded a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract to train pilots under a cadet pilot program for India’s most successful airline. The partnership will see hundreds of IndiGo Airlines pilot students living and training in Whanganui.

The Interglobe Aviation operated IndiGo Airlines currently operates 239 aeroplanes, and has orders for up to 300 more as the company embarks on international flight operations, over and above the current domestic India routes. IndiGo Airlines success is clear with the airline currently capturing 49.8% of the Indian domestic market.

NZICPA was established by Whanganui District Holdings Limited as a regional economic development initiative and operates from a purpose-built professional pilot training complex at Whanganui Airport. The company currently trains 80 pilots from around the world, contributing $10M NZD to the economy annually.

Upon signing the significant agreement with IndiGo, Chair of the NZICPA Board, Matthew Doyle said he could not be more pleased. ‘Whanganui District Council took an opportunity with the purchase of a pilot training organisation, and we are pleased the local community will now benefit.

‘While establishing the NZICPA, we developed a strategy and had planned to be operating cadet pilot training within five years of commencing operations from Whanganui, and we are therefore well ahead of our programme’.

Mr Doyle also acknowledged the work of the NZICPA Board and team, who have invested significant time and effort into the project leading to today’s outcome. ‘We are grateful for the continued support from Whanganui District Council elected officials, chief executive and team’.

NZICPA Chief Executive Phillip Bedford said he could not be prouder of the district’s achievement. To be selected by India’s premier airline, an extremely discerning partner, was recognition of all the effort put into establishing the NZICPA brand as the professional’s choice.

The work put into the overall pilot academy by all those involved has been significant and now the district is a step closer to the wider vision to become New Zealand’s aviation capital.

The first group of students are planned to begin the Whanganui-based component of the cadet programme during January 2020, and they will live in a campus environment at the former Nazareth home. Prior to arriving they will undergo an extensive pilot selection process in India, achieve final approval from IndiGo, and complete Indian theory study and exams.

The India component will be conducted in partnership with Flightrule Aviation Services LLP, a professionally aligned pilot recruitment, training and management office headquartered in Delhi. Captain Rahul Monga, CEO Flightrule welcomes the partnership agreement as he feels strongly about enhancing professionalism in aviation in India.

Phillip Bedford says, ‘the Flightrule India footprint is integral to the program as it ensures quality and brand alignment across the entire programme’. After training in New Zealand, the cadets will proceed to Abu Dhabi for Airbus A320 type rating training, before beginning line training with IndiGo.

Whanganui Mayor, Hamish McDouall, said he was ‘extremely excited by this opportunity.'

'This will be transformative for the district. Whanganui can become the aviation training capital of New Zealand. It is amazing to think that this is where we have reached four years after council made the decision to establish a pilot academy’.

'The development of the pilot academy shows Whanganui can compete at the highest level, in a high-tech, professional field.'

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