A Hamilton flight school has secured a lucrative slice of the world's commercial pilot training market now it has been approved to issue licences to Singapore pilots.
CTC Aviation Training is the first New Zealand flight training organisation and only the fourth in the world to gain approval by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to train pilots for that country's airlines.
The coup will bring 15 to 30 trainee pilots from Singapore to Hamilton for part of the 18-month course at a cost of $150,000 a pilot each year.
CTC chief executive Ian Calvert said the achievement and other deals being worked on would boost the school's annual turnover of $16 million to between $18 million and $20 million within the next two years.
And earning the approval, which required exhaustive audits and syllabus rewriting, would pave the way for CTC to train pilots for other countries.
"The advantage of getting a Singapore approval is it was extremely difficult to get," Mr Calvert said. "They're very tough, and once we've got that then others certainly take notice that we've got it."
Based south of the city, near Hamilton Airport, CTC already trains up to 220 pilots a year, the majority from Britain and about 30 from New Zealand.
Established in 2005, the facility trains pilots to supply its airline partners in Britain, Europe, Asia and Australia.
A full cadet course takes about a year and a half with the first five months in Britain, exams in Singapore, eight months in NZ and the remaining time back in England.
In May last year, CTC formed a partnership with Jetstar Asia to train Singaporean nationals as first officers, the first step in gaining the CAAS approval.
Three of CTC's 50 instructors had to obtain Singaporean commercial pilot's licences before the approval was granted.
Mr Calvert said CTC's international reputation as a safe, high-quality flight training organisation played a major role in attaining the industry achievement.
"Our safety record is outstanding and one of the best in the country.
"Because it is so visible and because there are no second chances for a pilot if something goes wrong, we take it very seriously."
Mr Calvert said residents should not be concerned about the 30,000 flying hours projected for this year because CTC had reduced noise and night flying to mitigate the effects on them.
Each student pilot was estimated to spend $4 in the local and national economy for each dollar spent on training so there was a financial benefit to having the school in the Waikato, Mr Calvert said.
CTC airline liaison manager Captain Martin Peters said the organisation had also gained approval to train pilots for Royal Brunei Airlines in November last year.
It was now targeting countries in Southeast Asia, and China and India.
It was also working with CAAS to enable Singaporean pilots to complete their Airbus or Boeing-type rating training with CTC.
This would allow CTC to deliver a full range of programmes for pilots, instructors and examiners as well as trainees