Saudi Arabian students graduate from New Zealand air traffic controllers program

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Saudi Arabian students graduate from New Zealand air traffic controllers program

A group of 25 Saudi Arabian students have graduated from an air traffic control (ATC) training program provided by Airways International Ltd, following two years of studies in New Zealand.

Their graduation on Thursday 29 November marked the students’ successful completion of a two-year scholarship provided by the Ministry of Education and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia, for the training of air traffic controllers for Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS). Members of the SANS executive team, and some family members of graduating students travelled from Saudi Arabia to attend the graduation.

Airways has been training Saudi Arabian students at its ATC training facility in Palmerston North since 2010. This is the sixth group of students to train with Airways in New Zealand, bringing the total number of students to 170 since 2010. Another group of Saudi Arabian students will complete their training in New Zealand in April 2020.

Airways International Ltd CEO Sharon Cooke says, “We’d like to congratulate these graduates on the successful completion of their ATC training program, and our customers GACA and SANS as they work to increase the number of certified air traffic controllers in the Middle East.”

The scholarship gave the students a unique opportunity to live and study in New Zealand on their journey to become certified air traffic controllers. The students spent the first 12 months studying English at Kaplan International College and Auckland University of Technology, and then completed a 12-month ATC training programme with Airways in Palmerston North.

The students stay with local homestay families where possible, and are immersed in the culture and lifestyle of New Zealand. They train in state-of-the-art air traffic control simulators, providing a real world experience in a highly engaging learning environment.