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FlightSafetyBoeing and Virgin Blue Bulldoze Ahead With Brisbane Aviation Training Centre

30/01/2003

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA January 30, 2003 - FlightSafety Boeing Training International (FSB) and Virgin Blue Airlines today bulldozed ahead with plans for building an aviation training centre located at Virgin Blue’s Brisbane home – the first in the region for both companies.


The state-of-the-art facility will be built next door to Brisbane Airport and is expected to take its first intake of customers by the end of 2003. The Brisbane Training Centre will have four full-flight simulators, which have the capability to train 4500 pilots annually. The equipment being installed at the centre includes Boeing 737-700/-800 and 717-200 full flight simulators.


The two-story facility will provide pilot training, aircraft maintenance training capability featuring networking and other advance technology training devices, and learning tools at the centre including workstations equipped with self-guided, computer-based training, allowing students to progress at their own pace.


Attending today’s event were the Hon. Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland, and representatives and guests of FlightSafetyBoeing and Virgin Blue.


"We are delighted to welcome another prestigious company to Queensland. This facility builds on our commitment to make Queensland an aviation hub for the Asia Pacific. Queensland has the critical mass in aviation which now warrants a flight training facility. The FlightSafetyBoeing and Virgin Blue Brisbane Training Centre is an excellent acquisition for Brisbane Airport and the Queensland Government is pleased to have been able to help bring this about," said Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.


Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey said, “Aviation is bounding forward in Queensland and this smart training facility will provide Virgin Blue with world class flight training, not just for our own crews but also international students.


We currently have no legal option but to send our pilots off-shore for simulator sessions but this partnership with FlightSafetyBoeing will see ours and overseas pilots coming to Virgin Blue for training rather than vice versa.”


The Hon. Andrew Peacock, AC president of Boeing-Australia, said the training centre was yet another demonstration of Boeing’s commitment to Australia and its local airline partners.


“This is a sizeable investment that will add to our already significant presence in southeast Queensland” Peacock said. “The centre will add considerable value to the local economy, and on behalf of nearly 3,000 Boeing employees already in Australia, I welcome a new division of the company to our country.”


“Boeing is proud to have been a catalyst in helping southeast Queensland establish a viable aviation services industry.”


FlightSafetyBoeing President Pat Gaines said FlightSafetyBoeing’s growth in Australia is part of the company’s global expansion strategy of establishing a worldwide network of training centres.


“We are committed to ensuring that FSB continues to provide cost effective and total training solutions to support airline operators world-wide; and continues to increase training value to our customers including placing our training centres at customer locations,” Gaines said.


FSB will manage and operate the training centre and will own three of the four full-flight simulators in the new training facility. Virgin Blue will own the fourth. FSB’s Gaines added that the Brisbane Training Centre is one of several facilities FSB plans to strategically locate near customers throughout Asia/Pacific. It is the company’s fourth in the Asia/Pacific region, joining the existing FSB training centres in Kunming, P.R.C.; Seoul, Korea; and its affiliate centre in Singapore. In addition, FSB operates numerous training centres in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.


In true Virgin Blue style, the traditional sod turning with a shovel ceremony was ditched in favour of bringing in heavy machinery to get the Training Centre construction underway.


FlightSafetyBoeing is a newly acquired wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company within the Commercial Aviation Services group. The FSB organization is a global force in airline training and is the world’s premier full-service provider of airline training. FSB provides an expanding and integrated services portfolio that comprises training materials, flight, technical, and cabin crew training. Working alongside Boeing and its subsidiaries, FSB is able to provide customers with a complete range of global air transport solutions. FSB supports the world’s aviation community with 72 full flight simulators in 21 locations in ten countries on six continents.


Virgin Blue is Australia’s award-winning low fare airline servicing every capital city and a number of regional destinations across the country. The airline was recently named the world’s “Best Low Cost Carrier” in the TravelQuality.com 2003 aviation awards, taking top honours ahead of well known low fare airline’s US-based Southwest, UK carrier easyJet and Irish carrier Ryanair. Virgin Blue operates a fleet of 28 aircraft including the brand new, high-tech Next Generation Boeing 737 and employs over 2,200 team members. Based in Brisbane, QLD, Virgin Blue is committed to long-term low fares and outstanding customer service.