Khmer Pilot Training Co Ltd, the only private aviation training school in Cambodia, has resumed operations.
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The re-launch comes with a change in ownership, however. The old company (of the same name), which was owned by Cambodian and Vietnamese investors, stopped their operations last month.
Kearithy Meas, one of the new owners, said they revived the company and applied for a new license that was granted this month. “It’s now 100 percent Cambodian owned,” he said.
Mr Meas now owns and operates the company together with his brother Kasokin and father Rotha. The three are Airbus A-320 pilots with JC Airlines.
Mr Meas said they are not doing it solely for business, but also to help the local aviation industry
On its website, the company said it is helping meet the demand for pilots among the increasing number of players in the country’s growing aviation industry.
The number of Cambodian airline pilots is currently less than 30, which means local airlines need to hire foreign pilots.
According to Mr Meas, they are offering the same programme as with the previous owners, but with some improvements.
“The theory part (ground training) will be handled by us here in Cambodia,” he said.
At the ground school, students will have to master the theory behind airplane systems, aerodynamic principles, flight environment, communication and flight information, meteorology for pilots, interpreting weather data, airplane performance, navigation, integrating pilot knowledge and skills, and applying human factor principles.
Lectures will be conducted by Mr Meas, his father, brother, and personnel from the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA).
“The training here usually takes six weeks. During that time, we will also be processing their visas in preparation for their schooling in the US and Canada,” he said.
After they have satisfactorily completed the ground training, the students are sent to Singapore for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated medical check-up.
“After the medical, the students can choose whether to have their actual flight training in the US or Canada,” he stated.
According to him, they have partnered with Chinook Helicopters in Canada and US Aviation Academy in the US.
“They will learn to fly Cessna, Beechcraft, and other types of aircraft,” he said.
“The flight training takes 10 to 15 months, depending on the performance of the student,” he added.
The last part of the programme is a one-month conversion into the Airbus A-320, which will be handled by Aerostar Training Services also in the US.
“Once the students get back to Cambodia, we will help them with the conversion of their FAA license into Cambodian ones,” he pointed out. “And the most important part is that we will ensure that they have jobs when they return home,” he added.
Mr Meas said they plan to offer training courses for aircraft engineers and mechanics in the future.