MULTIPLE OPTIONS FOR EAST AFRICA’S B787 PILOT CONVERSION TRAINING
The approval by the US FAA, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, by EASA and Far Eastern agencies of recently established Boeing 787 simulator facilities has now set the stage for formal conversion training of pilots selected by the respective airlines. Training will now be offered in Seattle, London, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo, giving carriers awaiting deliveries of the B787, as and when it should be pointed out, the option to place their pilots in a facility convenient to them.
Here in the wider Eastern Africa region the two leading airlines, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have the B787 on order and Kenya Airways only recently – as reported here – re-affirmed their 9 aircraft deal with Boeing, against what many aviation observers suspect substantial concessions to compensate for the extraordinary long delay in receiving these aircraft first ordered in 2006.
The similar cockpit layouts and functionalities between the new B787 and the B777 used by the two airlines already will further make the type conversion for selected pilots easier, although it is thought that it will primarily be the B767 cockpit crews selected first for the courses, as those aircraft, upon delivery of the larger and considerably more efficient B787, will be phased out by both Ethiopian and Kenya Airways.
The first commercial delivery of a B787 to Japan’s ANA is scheduled towards the later part of 2011 and it can only be hoped that a labour dispute pending between unions and Boeing will not once again cause added problems and keep this latest anticipated delivery date intact.
High time to see the ‘Dreamliner’ finally take to the skies with commercial flights.