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Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy
Thursday, 1 November 2007

Regional Express (Rex) and Mangalore Airport Pty Limited (MAPL) announced today that they have signed an MOU for a Joint Venture to create a new Professional Pilot Academy to be named the Civil Aviation Training Academy (CATA). This Academy will be situated at Mangalore Airport, Victoria, one and a half hours from Melbourne CBD, and is expected to receive its first batch of 20 students on 10 December 2007.

Giving details of the training, Jim Davis, Rex Chief of Staff, said “Under our intensive live-in training program, we expect the students to graduate with a Commercial Pilot Licence, a Multi Engine Rating and a Command Instrument Rating within 32 weeks. CATA has purchased an initial batch of 5 new Piper Warrior III aircraft with state of the art “glass” cockpits for the first training course, as well as a new twin-engine Piper Seminole for multi-engine and Instrument training. The Academy intends to accept up to 80 pilots in the first year but has plans to grow the intake to 350 a year by the third or fourth year of operations. We intend to be the premier institute for training professional pilots in Australia.”

“The first few intakes of students will be reserved for the cadets recruited under the Rex Pilot Cadet scheme announced earlier, after which the Academy will accept private students as well as those sent from other airlines both locally and internationally. The total cost of training, including full board and lodging, is expected to be priced at around $80,000 per student.”

“We are currently in the process of reviewing approximately 700 applicants Rex has received so far and we will select an initial 20 for our inaugural cadet course. This will be followed 3 months later by our second batch of 20 cadets. Upon successful completion of the training, the cadets will go through 2 months of ground school and simulator training with Rex before taking up the appointment of First Officer flying in the right hand seat for our company.”

“This initiative will enable Rex to have a guaranteed supply of highly trained pilots entering its ranks, helping to ensure sufficient pilot numbers for both current needs and future growth.” Rex Chief of Staff, Jim Davis, said today.

Captain Keith Wallace, General Manager of Mangalore Airport, commenting on the joint venture, stated that “MAPL has almost completed the second stage of the brand new Academy, which includes air-conditioned accommodation, a commercial kitchen with dining room, a purpose built learning centre, with classrooms, briefing rooms, dispatch centre and CATA offices. Mangalore is a large, well equipped airport, with dual all-weather runways, and published Instrument Approach Procedures including NDB, VOR and RNAV (GNSS).”

“The owners have invested heavily in upgrades to the airport, such as a Fibre-optic LAN to connect all the students, learning centre and administration. Runway 18/36 has been recently resurfaced. An examination centre has been created for Assessment Services Pty Ltd to enable students to sit for CASA theory examinations at Mangalore Airport”

“Captain Wallace stated that the investment to date in buildings, runway works, and infrastructure has been achieved without financial assistance from any sources, and the project is being shaped as the focal point of an Aviation Cluster, with the central role of providing an internationally competitive training solution for the airline industry. In doing so, other aviation related industries and activities will be introduced to the Goulburn Valley Region of Central Victoria, and beyond”

“The third equity partner in the joint venture, Moorabbin Flying Services (MFS), was chosen to provide the most effective, high quality training solution to the airline industry, at a time when well qualified pilots are being sought by all levels in the industry.

Giving details of the shareholdings and working capital, the partners revealed: “MFS will hold 15% of the shares, with REX and MAPL splitting equally the remaining shares. CATA will start with initial working capital of A$2 million, but we expect this to increase to A$6 million within the first 18 months”

Rex is Australia’s largest independent Regional Airline, operating a fleet of 34 SAAB 340 aircraft on 1,300 flights weekly to 25 destinations from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The Rex group comprises Regional Express, air freight and charter operator Pel-Air Aviation, and Dubbo based regional airline Air Link.