Staff laid off as $50m jet training college closes doors

SINGAPORE Airlines has closed its $50 million jet training college at Maroochydore, laying off 12 staff on Monday.

Operated under the name Singapore Flying College, the facility, which opened in 2002, underwent a $40million upgrade only three years ago.

In a statement, the college said the closure was a result of changes to its pilot training curriculum.

"The decision follows a detailed review, with parent company Singapore Airlines, which has resulted in an increase in the amount of training provided in Singapore with state-of-the-art training devices,'' the company said.

The college had employed 15 staff, using simulators and jet aircraft to train up to 140 cadet pilots a year.

"Twelve positions have been made redundant,'' the company said.

The remaining three - the chief pilot, office administrator and simulator administrator - would lose their jobs when the branch closes, tentatively planned for March 31, 2014.

A company spokesperson said local factors had not contributed to the decision.

"Training requirements are changing with the use of new technology,'' she said.

"Cadets today are exposed to the jet environment and curriculum very early in their pilot training, thereby negating the need for the specific jet exposure that has been offered at Maroochydore."

Singapore Flying College launched at Sunshine Coast Airport in 2001, the next year opening one flight simulator backed by four Lear L45 jet aircraft to train pilots who had completed their basic flying induction at Jandakot in Western Australia.

In 2010 it upgraded, spending $25million on five Cessna Mustang C510 jets to replace the Lear jets and building two additional simulators at a cost of $15million.

Sources say that almost immediately the number of training flights began dropping back.

The college's operations in Singapore and at Jandakot, where most flying training occurs, are not affected.

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