ADA close to opening region's first dedicated helicopter training centre
Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA), the Middle East's largest helicopter operator, will this year open the region's first dedicated helicopter training centre. The new 7,250 square metre facility in Khalifa City will provide multi-product training for its ADA's own in-house requirements and those of third party operators
The imminent opening was confirmed by the company’s chairman, Nadir al Hammadi (pictured above) who said the facility, construction of which began last year, will have a complement of at least 12 simulators when in full utilisation with two simulators – one for an AW139 and another for the Bell 412 – already purchased for start-up.
“The rest of the business will be a combination of leasing some of the bays to joint ventures with some OEMs,” explained Al Hammadi.
ADA plans to evolve the centre into an international hub for helicopter training. “It will offer multi-product training for our own pilots, including Emirati recruits who come to us from the Armed Forces, and is available for third party training,” explained Al Hammadi. “Clients in the Middle East will be able to use this facility instead of going to European facilities.
The Chairman said training had been identified as a growth area for the company which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. “Another is real estate and we are planning a new company to enter this segment,” said Al Hammadi. “We want to consolidate our business to ensure we are sustainable. I hope the company will be up and running within six months and it will operate in the commercial real estate sector with an international approach leveraging the real estate assets the Group already has.” The Chairman said the consolidation approach was identified prior to the international oil price downturn and was not in response to it but rather a “long-term growth strategy.”
The Chairman also confirmed that ADA is in contract negotiations for expansion into the South American and Far Eastern markets and anticipates further growth from planned expansion of its maintenance, repair and overhaul activities.
Meanwhile, the company has been celebrating an operational milestone of reaching one million hours of successful operation of its Bell Helicopter Fleet. ADA, which has been operating Bell Helicopter aircraft since 1976, now has a Bell fleet of over 44 aircraft comprising 212s and 412s that fly an average of 100 hours per day. “With outstanding customer support and service maintenance we have managed to achieve an operational readiness of 100% during the past two years,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Al Mazrouei, General Manager, ADA.
ADA has also issued letters of intent to buy 10 of the medium-lift Bell 525 ‘Relentless’ – the world’s first commercial helicopter to incorporate fly-by-wire flight controls with the first delivery due next year immediately after the aircraft’s certification. The company is Bell Helicopters largest Middle East customer.
ADA operates a fleet of 60 helicopters and four fixed-wing aircraft. It employs over 1,200 people, including 150 pilots and 283 engineers and technicians providing offshore oil support and other services worldwide, with a core focus on Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas production sector. Its current service offering also includes VVIP passenger transportation services, Search & Rescue services for the United Arab Emirates, crop spraying, aerial construction, seismic support, health emergency medical services in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, fire fighting in Spain and third party maintenance support.