The aviation industry as a whole has been experiencing a shortage of pilots which thus drives the market for training. Due to the recent economic slowdown, there has been a decline in air travel, and the need for pilots has also decreased.
However, pilot training is vital, as it is estimated that by 2010, the economy will pick up and pilot requirements will be on the rise again. The Asia Pacific local air traffic management systems do not have enough approach instrument landing systems and support for training requirements and therefore, training institutions are investing in expanding their infrastructure and facilities. These technical complexities with new generation aircrafts will drive the need for pilot retraining.
According to Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Research Analyst of Aerospace & Defense Practice Nagib Ramli, "With the current scenario of flying being a profession, students are creating more demand for pilot training schools."
Despite the economic downturn, simulation spending is increasing and the reduction of flight hours are increasingly common, opting for higher hours in simulation. Using simulators, training facilities and airlines will incur less cost, making it easier for training new pilots to fill the gap, when economies around the world recover. Technology advancements have incorporated simulations to improve flight management skills rather than just traditional flying handlings.
Nagib says, "The civil aviation authority of each country has a major role in standardizing and regulating the training programs of aircraft fleet operators. In fact most of the upgrades have been done on simulators due to the mandates of a civil aviation authority (CAA)."
"Creating awareness of new technology developments in flight simulation in the commercial aviation authority can lead to new regulations that drive more business for the simulation systems manufacturers. As CAAs across the region become more aware of the latest technologies and benefits of simulated flight training, the more likely they are to adopt regulations that require more and more time on flight simulators for new and existing pilots," he continues.
In 2008, the Asia Pacific pilot training market size was almost USD10 billion. Frost & Sullivan posits that flight simulation companies and training facilities need to establish firm relationships with airline operators to understand demands and requirements of the aviation industry. "Technological advancement in virtual reality to simulate pilot training using only a helmet which provides visual substituting systems with expensive projectors will drive simulator prices down, increasing the affordability of local training facilities," added Nagib.
The aerospace industry at large may be going through turbulent times but the mid to long term prospects for Asia's aerospace sector are strong. As the industry consolidates and rationalizes, aerospace companies must continually adapt and reinvent themselves to stay viable and competitive. In the end, businesses that deliver exceptional value even in times of downsizing and cost-cutting will be the first to benefit from a recovery.
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