Bangalore: European airframe manufacturer, Airbus Industrie, launched its Airbus Engineering and Training Centre here, which is slated to be the biggest such facility outside its base in Toulouse, France.
The centre, formally inaugurated by Airbus president and chief executive officer Thomas Enders, will be equipped with seven simulators and cater to 2,000 aviation engineers by 2010, besides addressing the shortage of trained pilots in the country.
While six simulators will be based on the A320 platform, one will be based on the A330 platform, upgradeable to A340. According to the company, each of the simulators costs up to $15 million.
The training centre will eventually be based at a location closer to the upcoming Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli.
Meanwhile, Enders said that Airbus had emerged as aircraft manufacturer of choice in India. "Last year, 75 per cent of the new orders for aircraft with more than 100 seats, were Airbus planes. We want to build on that success by ensuring mutually beneficial cooperation with the industry and research institutions here," he said.
The new training and engineering centre is part of Airbus'' $600 million offset commitment to the Government of India after receiving large number of aircraft orders from Indian Airlines.
Acknowledging India''s emergence as a strong aerospace centre, Enders cited the company''s partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which now supplied about 50 per cent of A320 doors. He said that there was already a backlog of about 5,000 more doors.
"The partnerships are now moving from parts manufacturing to information technology, engineering, information technology enabled services and research and development, besides the traditional sub-assemblies," he said. The company had selected five Bangalore-based private firms to work directly on Airbus projects as tier-1 suppliers.
While 100 engineers from Bangalore worked on the A380 project, over 1,000 were working on various other Airbus programmes, said another top Airbus official.
To a question, he reiterated the company''s plan to sell seven of its production sites in Europe to interested industrial partners. This was to help the company focus on its core areas, he said.