How the failure of AAA flying school would be a major blow to Addu City
Asian Academy of Aeronautics was opened in Addu City in 2010. Since opening, at its peak, the school had over 200 active students.
As the majority of the students are not from Addu, the locals benefit from rent, food, and other means of expenditure by these students.
If an average student spends 5,000 MVR monthly, just 50 students each month can inject 2,50,000 MVR monthly to the city, 3 million MVR annually.
In 2017, then General Manager Ibthishama Ahmed said they may not renew the AAA license which was set to expire in 2019 due to financial reasons.
“We need more land for the full operations of the airport. On the other hand, operating the flight school here doesn’t bring us any profit when you consider Gan Airport’s operations financially,” Ibthishama Ahmed
However, according to Imran Jeevunjee of AAA, the flight school started to generate profits just from ten months of commencing operations.
Furthermore, in 2019 Addu International Airport was looking for interested partners to develop a new EASA accredited Flight Training Academy even though they said the flying school doesn’t generate any profit for the airport (https://www.gazette.gov.mv/iulaan/view/107889 )
Amidst of AAA dilemma lately, Villa Air announced they are working heavily to open a flying school as early as May of 2021. Manta Air also has expressed plans of opening a flying school in Dhaalu Airport.
The key issue with AAA is the lack of instructors and training aircraft to the high number of students enrolled in the flight school which leads to significant delay in course completion.
With the damaged reputation if AAA could not get their problems resolved, they may struggle to gain new students. Addu International Airport said again they may not renew the school's license which is set to expire now in 2021.
AAA history shows the existing demand for pilot training. If run well, both Villa Air and Manta Air’s flight school can attract hundreds of students. Even at present more than 100 Maldivian students are enrolled in pilot training in different countries. Earlier national Airline Maldivian said they have the full capacity to run a flight school.
The Maldives is a perfect location to establish a flying school as the country has generally fine weather conditions throughout the year.
With surrounding airports nearby, a big runway, and less air traffic, Addu City is ideal for student pilots to train. If the airport could not find a replacement, the flying school could well as be a thing of the past which would be a blow to the local economy.