LOOK: MacroAsia, PTC Holdings aviation school opens in Subic

MANILA, Philippines – The flight school owned by a joint venture of the Lucio Tan-led MacroAsia Corporation and maritime crew management firm PTC Group officially opened Thursday, March 21, in Subic, Zambales.

The school, First Aviation Academy (FAA), seeks to increase the number of licensed commercial pilots in the country.

Citing the 2018 Pilot and Technician Outlook by aircraft manufacturer Boeing, FAA general manager Raoul Perez said pilot demand worldwide is set to reach 790,000.

"The demand is significant and this investment is a serious attempt to address the shortage by producing aviation professionals with the same standards from the rest of the world," Perez said.

"In the Philippines, the [Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines] only gives licenses to 600 people. In the next 20 years, that's only 12,000 pilots. That's only around 5% of the demand," he said.

RIBBON CUTTING. PAL President Jaime Bautista, along with MacroAsia President u0026 COO and First Aviation Academy Chairman Joseph Chua, PTC Holdings CEO Gerardo Borromeo, and US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, officially opened the flight school on March 21, 2019. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

RIBBON CUTTING. PAL President Jaime Bautista, along with MacroAsia President u0026 COO and First Aviation Academy Chairman Joseph Chua, PTC Holdings CEO Gerardo Borromeo, and US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, officially opened the flight school on March 21, 2019.

Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

PTC Holdings CEO Gerardo Borromeo pointed out that the Philippines "lack more facilities" that would train future aviation professionals.

"We have to have the investment in the infrastructure. Let's go with the most modern equipment but way beyond what is minimum," Borromeo said.

The business executives pointed out that the flight school's edge among others is its brand new planes and facilities.

FAA has Redbird MCX and TD2 G1000 simulators to be used for training before flight exercises with the two new Tecnam planes with Garmin G100 full glass cockpit electronic instrumentation.

REDBIRD MCX. This is an aviation training device allowing the student pilot to demonstrate maneuvers as a 'co-pilot'. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

REDBIRD MCX. This is an aviation training device allowing the student pilot to demonstrate maneuvers as a 'co-pilot'.

Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

Currently, FAA can take 60 students under a 12-month intensive trainingn program. Courses will commence in April.

Perez said that enrollment fees start at P4 million (approximately $76,000), but financing options are offered by the Philippine National Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, RCBC, and Security Bank. Accommodation and meals are already part of the school fees.

By the end of the program, graduates could have acquired licenses for private pilot, instrument training, multi-engine rating, commercial pilot, and airline transport pilot license theory.

The executives said the student will be "airline-ready" then for firms here and abroad. 

In 2017, MacroAsia and PTC Holdings signed the joint venture agreement for the establishment of FAA and invested $3 million to set up the flight school.

The joint venture plans to expand the capacity of the flight school to 300 students annually in the coming years, but declined to comment on how much they want to spend on it. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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