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2000s - The strategic 2000s

The advent of the new millennium crystallized the company's vision and lent it new resolve and focus. After decades as the world leader in the design and manufacture of simulation equipment, CAE was about to take bold steps to become a global leader in the provision of aviation training services. In 2000, CAE announced plans to build a global training network—a move that would ultimately provide CAE with the unparalleled ability to offer customers the most comprehensive package of products and services available from anyone in the simulation and training industry.

Through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, CAE's training organization grew rapidly during this decade. The company opened its own training centres in locations such as Sao Paulo and Toronto. Next came acquisitions aimed at accelerating CAE's global training footprint. With the purchase of Netherlands-based Schreiner Aviation Training in 2001, CAE became the world's second largest independent provider of aviation training services. A year later, the acquisition of SimuFlite quickly catapulted the company into business aviation training. All the while, CAE was establishing strategic training partnerships and alliances with airlines around the world, including Emirates, Alitalia, Iberia, LATAM, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and China Southern, and with major aircraft manufacturers like Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier and Dassault.

In 2006, CAE formally launched a network of ab initio flight schools which quickly became the largest in the world. 

These initiatives have made CAE's civil training and services unit the industry powerhouse it is today-global in every sense with a network of training centres on five continents serving airlines, operators and aircraft manufacturers. In just a few short years, the company has earned a reputation for uncompromising quality and expertise for training delivered close to the customer and customized to meet their unique requirements.

In March 2007, CAE was celebrating its 60th anniversary and launched the CAE 5000 Series full-flight simulator (FFS), purpose-built to address training requirements on commercial narrow-body platforms, and regional and business aircraft. The CAE 5000 Series features an innovative, standardized design which employs proven commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies, including PC-based visuals, high-performance liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) projectors, electric motion, and composite components.

While CAE was expanding into aviation training, the company also recognized its military simulation and training unit had untapped potential. Namely, CAE needed a presence in the United States, by far the world's largest defence market. In 2001, CAE acquired Florida-based BAE SYSTEMS Flight Simulation and Training, formerly Reflectone, to provide CAE improved access to U.S. military opportunities. Over the next several years, CAE's military business in the United States grew significantly as the company built on its relationship with the 160th SOAR(A) and also won key programs for U.S. Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter simulators and U.S. Air Force C-130J training systems. The company established key relationships with major manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, with the latter awarding CAE its Outstanding Supplier Award in 2006.

Around the same time, other parts of CAE's military business began to flourish. In the U.K., the world's first military training private finance initiative began operational training at CAE's Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility. CAE Gmbh in Stolberg, Germany continued to thrive with key positions on European multi-national programs such as Eurofighter and NH90. CAE Australia established CAE as a key player "down under" as the company became an authorized engineering organization for supporting a range of Australian Defence Forces flight simulators. By the end of the decade, CAE's military business had grown to approximately 50% of CAE's revenues.