L3 Commercial Aviation is expanding its UK Airline Academy operations with a new site at Cranfield Airport in Bedforshire. The location will help to increase L3’s flight training capacity for cadets across its European training programmes.
“This investment will help to improve both the quality and capacity of our world-leading pilot training,” said Geoff van Klaveren, Vice President of L3 Airline Academy. “With its existing infrastructure, heritage in aviation and strong network with the industry, we believe that Cranfield represents an attractive location to expand our UK training capacity.
“We welcome L3 to Cranfield University’s global research airport,” said Rob Abbott, Cranfield Airport’s Director of Aviation Operations. “We have an established track record of working with international companies to bring investment and employment to the region through world-class education and research. In L3, Cranfield Airport has a partner engaged not just in the basic principles of academy training, but with a clear strategy for pilots of the future.”
Welcoming the new flying training operation at Cranfield is something of a change of heart for the airport who just a few years ago were seeking to remove their based flying clubs, despite the airport’s long association with professional flight training including the Cabair operation. Nevertheless, the airport now seems to be becoming more ‘GA friendly’ again with improved opening hours and new (or renewed) instrument approaches expected.
By the end of 2019, L3 will operate more than 12 Da40 and Da42 aircraft at Cranfield, providing training capacity for more than 50 cadets. Initially the base will provide training across the pilot training curriculum, but by the end of the year it is expected that L3 Cranfield will be focused on Instrument Rating training, starting on the Da40 and moving onto the multi-engine Da42. The company says that the new base represents a significant investment from L3 in the UK. By the end of the year, the Cranfield site will have created over 27 dedicated permanent jobs within the local economy.
Cranfield University meantime says that it is the only university in Europe with its own airport and runway. Its students and researchers work with some of the world’s top aerospace companies on advanced technologies and innovations. L3’s presence on the site will provide opportunities for future collaborations with the university on next-generation products and technologies.