As the Area Operations Leader for Commercial Aviation in the UK with responsibility for CAE’s Gatwick and Manchester training centres, I have had a front row seat to CAE’s expansion in Europe over the past few months. It’s been a very exciting time, and I thought I’d share some insight into why we’re growing our presence in Europe and how we’re doing it.

More passengers, more pilots, more training!

Have you heard that over the next 10 years, 300,000 new pilots will be needed to keep up with air passenger growth? All of these new pilots will need to be trained, and this is where CAE comes in!

As the world leader in aviation training, we train 135,000 pilots globally every year. Chances are that the last time you were on a flight, CAE played a part in your pilots’ training. In Europe, CAE operates 20 training facilities, including new training centres in Gatwick, Manchester, Milan and Oslo. We have opened a new flying location in Antwerp, Belgium where our cadets fly during the instrument rating phase of their training, and will soon inaugurate a new A320 simulator at CAE Barcelona, Spain. We are focused on providing the training solutions our customers need, where they need them!

A dedicated space for easyJet

Being close to your customers is important both in terms of relationship and location. If you live in Europe, you’ve probably flown with easyJet – one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines. As part of a long-term agreement signed last year, CAE will train easyJet pilots at our new training centres in Gatwick and Manchester in the United Kingdom, and in Milan, Italy. easyJet will have a dedicated space for training in Gatwick and Milan, and pilots will benefit from the most technologically advanced flight simulators and training devices available, so they are fully prepared to keep us safe in the skies.

It’s not all about pilots!

Pilots won’t be the only crew we train at our new European training centres. We will also train cabin crew on emergency procedures. Using a B737 door trainer, a B787 evacuation slide, and a fire and smoke simulator, we train flight attendants to do all the things you see in the safety demonstration – if you were paying attention! They are tested on swimming, treading water, manually inflating a life vest and climbing into a life raft as part of “wet drills” conducted in a pool!

Opening soon!

Opening a new training centre is a very exciting time! It’s always pretty fascinating to see a brand-new simulator arrive from the CAE production plant in Montreal, Canada but delivery is only one step. Before a simulator is ready for training, a team of engineers swoop in to ensure everything is ready for the first trainees. There is an amazing amount of coordination and teamwork required to prepare a training centre, and pilots have already started to train at the new centres in the UK.

I’m looking forward to the official inaugurations of CAE Gatwick, Manchester, and Milan this fall, marking not only an exciting moment for me and the team, but a significant milestone in CAE’s European expansion.


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