Transport Ministry to establish state-of-the-art flight training centre in Hua Hin

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Thailand’s Transport Ministry is pushing for a budget of over 470 million baht for the 2025 fiscal year to build a modern flight training centre in Hua Hin, aiming to elevate the country’s aviation training and meet international standards.

The initiative also includes acquiring new helicopters to enhance pilot training capabilities, according to Deputy Transport Minister Manaporn Charoensri.

Manaporn highlighted Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s vision of positioning Thailand as the aviation hub of the region.

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The new training centre, set to be established next to Hua Hin Airport, will play a crucial role in achieving this goal, she said.

Deputy Transport Minister Manaporn Charoensri. Photo supplied.

She emphasized the significance of the Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC), which has been a specialized aviation training institution for over six decades.

Recognized globally as a Platinum member by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), it ranks among the top institutions worldwide under the ICAO TRAINAIR PLUS program.

In addition to its headquarters in Bangkok, which is well-equipped for ground training to support the aviation industry’s revival, the CATC also has a flight training center at Hua Hin Airport, which has long been the main center for producing commercial pilots and aviation personnel in the country and region.

The proposed training centre will further enhance this legacy. The budget allocation includes approximately 398.5 million baht for the first phase of construction.

The plan encompasses two training and administration buildings, upgraded infrastructure, and landscaping, with modern amenities that align with ICAO recommendations for infrastructure and facility upgrades.

In addition to building state-of-the-art facilities, the Transport Ministry plans to allocate 78 million baht to purchase two Robinson R44 helicopters to boost the training centre’s fleet. The aim is to support Thailand’s security mission, respond to the aviation industry’s growth, and align with government policy to position Thailand as an aviation and economic hub.

The center has the capacity to produce and develop more than 100 pilots annually in accordance with international standards. It provides courses covering both airplanes and helicopters and has been recognized as an Approved Training Organization (ATO) by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. These include the Commercial Pilot-Airplane Course (CPL), the Commercial Pilot-Helicopter Course (CPH), as well as personal pilot courses and flight instructor courses for both airplanes and helicopters.

It trains pilots for government agencies such as the Royal Thai Police and the Royal Thai Navy, as well as private organizations and individuals. The new helicopters will be used to provide advanced pilot training and meeting the growing demands of the aviation industry.

Manaporn has also directed the CATC to prepare for the development of its facilities in phases two and three, as outlined in its development plan. The subsequent phases will focus on acquiring additional aircraft and flight simulators and preparing flight instructors to cater to the growing aviation industry.

Despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted pilot training programs and reduced revenue, the CATC is poised for a resurgence. With airlines increasing aircraft orders and Thai Airways International opening recruitment for student pilots, including female pilots for the first time, demand for pilot training is rebounding. This presents an important opportunity for the CATC to rejuvenate its facilities and expand its training programs.

Manaporn added that the new Hua Hin Flight Training Centre will significantly boost Thailand’s aviation industry, helping the country emerge as a regional leader in aviation training and supporting the government’s goal of becoming a global aviation hub.

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