India’s civil aviation minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju broke ground for the Airbus India Training Center, accompanied by Airbus CEO Tom Enders, on March 17.

The new center—which is Asia’s first Airbus training facility for pilots and maintenance engineers—will be built on a greenfield site in the Aerocity district near Indira Gandhi International, the capital’s main airport.

The nearly 7,000 sq m center will be constructed in a modular concept in order to become operational by the end of 2018 with two A320 full flight simulators, increasing to four and potentially to six. It will start with an initial capacity to train more than 800 pilots and 200 maintenance engineers annually.

The center will cater primarily to Airbus operators in India and the region.

India is the fastest-growing domestic aviation market in the world and is expected to continue to grow at an annualized 9.3% over the next 20 years, almost exactly double the world average of 4.6%.

The number of flights per capita in India is expected to quadruple by 2035. 

Airbus forecasts a requirement for at least 1,600 new passenger and freighter aircraft by 2035 to cope with this explosion in demand. This will lead to an accompanying need for more than 24,000 new pilots and maintenance engineers.  

“India’s rapidly growing passenger aircraft fleet must be matched by adequate availability of skilled pilots and maintenance engineers,” Raju said. “Airbus’ pilot and maintenance engineering training center is the type of facility which will help augment the talent pool of such personnel and thus be a force multiplier for the Indian aviation sector.”

Alan Dron