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Pilot-training simulators were around long before this weekend’s Asiana crash, but the international attention it’s received will lead to an increased focus on pre-flight safety procedures as airlines look to cover their bases.
Etihad Airways, the third-biggest Persian Gulf carrier, ordered $200 million worth of pilot training tools for planes including the Airbus SAS A380 and Boeing Co. 787 as it takes the first of the models next year.
Etihad is buying three 787 full flight simulators and one for the A380 superjumbo from Canada’s CAE Inc., the Abu Dhabi- based carrier said today. It also is acquiring a training simulator for Airbus A350 long-range jets and two more for the A320 short-range plane.
Etihad is due to receive the first of 10 A380s in the fourth quarter of next year, joining Emirates of Dubai, the biggest A380 customer, and Qatar Airways Ltd., which gets its first plane in March. The airline also is expanding its service activities including maintenance of planes and training.
“These new full flight simulators will ensure we are ideally placed for the next phase in our expansion,” Chief Executive Officer James Hogan. Hogan said construction at the training academy will double its size and eventually house 11 full flight simulators.
The first A320 simulator is due in November when a training center expansion is due for completion, Etihad said. The other training tools should be delivered over the course of a year. Those come on top of four devices already in place to aid pilots in learning how to operate Boeing 777s, Airbus A320s, and the A330 and A340 long-range jets.
Etihad operates 77 Airbus and Boeing planes with more than 90 new ones on firm order, including 41 Dreamliners, it said.
Editors: Benedikt Kammel, Christopher Jasper
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