BIZCHINA / Top Biz News

Nation's first A380 pilot to receive training
By Lu Haoting (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-19 09:09

China's first pilot able to fly the A380 super jumbo jet, built by Europe's Airbus, is likely to be trained in autumn next year.

Airbus will meet the Chinese aviation authorities and China Southern Airlines, China's first A380 customer, in June to decide detailed training plans for Chinese pilots and maintenance engineers.

China Southern will receive its first A380 at the end of next year.

"Usually flight training starts two or three months before the aircraft arrives and we will ensure the smooth transfer of knowledge to China Southern," said Guillaume Mille, customer support director at Airbus China Ltd.

Pilots will be trained at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France, where the company's only A380 simulator is currently located.

Airbus is holding a five-day A380 technical seminar in Guangzhou this week.

It is the first time the European aircraft maker has given detailed technical briefings to the Chinese aviation industry.

Four Airbus A380 engineers from Toulouse have shared their knowledge about the aircraft's systems and technology with 30 engineers and officials from China Southern, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, and GAMECO (Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co Ltd).

"This seminar will provide China Southern Airlines engineers with the technical background that is needed to develop the maintenance and operational processes for the A380," Airbus said.

China does not manufacture components for the A380, but Mille said the country would be involved in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the 555-seat super jumbo.

"I believe leading Chinese MRO suppliers, such as GAMECO and Ameco Beijing, will be able to do line maintenance and heavy maintenance for the A380," Mille said.

GAMECO, founded in 1989, is a joint venture between China Southern and Hutchison Whampoa.

Ameco Beijing, a joint venture between Air China and Lufthansa, is building a multi-bay line maintenance hangar that will be able to accommodate two A380s.

Low labour costs in China are giving Chinese MRO suppliers an advantage in offering labour-intensive services, such as airframe heavy maintenance.

Mille said Airbus is in discussion with a number of Chinese MRO companies to include them into Airbus' global MRO supplier network.

The A380 is the world's biggest airliner.

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