SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is showing keen interest in partnering with the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, with its Aviation Training Academy. This was revealed at a recent meeting held between a delegation of SXM led by managing director Regina LaBega and representatives of IATA’s Training and Development Institute (ITDI) upon the latter’s invitation, at their regional office in Miami.
ITDI expressed great interest in exploring SXM’s needs, but more importantly wanted to determine how it could be part of SXM aviation training plans through a possible partnership. ITDI offers training in all areas related to the aviation industry except for the training of pilots.
According to LaBega, SXM Airport is interested in identifying training areas that would set it aside from the rest of the pack. The discussions therefore focused primarily on the excellent opportunity that presents itself due to the fact that the entire region is in need of an aviation training academy, especially in filling the void in training for the French Caribbean.
“As a multi-lingual destination, SXM can fill this void,” LaBega said.
The possible partnership with IATA in establishing the Aviation Training Academy would result in SXM Airport being fully endorsed by IATA and Airport Council International (ACI) as an IATA Regional Training Host. This in turn would mean that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) would certify SXM Aviation Training Academy.
As an IATA Regional Training Host, the SXM Aviation Training Academy would be authorized to host IATA classroom courses on its premises, and thus be included in the global IATA classroom schedule.
The Academy would also create high-skilled jobs for potential trainers and enhance business in a number of sectors, such as accommodation, car rentals, restaurants, supermarkets, etc. It would similarly attract business from the region, as trainees from all across the Caribbean would be able to make use of it.
“Some European countries have also indicated that they would consider training their staff at our Academy when established instead of having to do so in Miami and other areas that may be more expensive,” LaBega disclosed.
For all of this to happen, however, support and cooperation from the Civil Aviation Authority of St. Maarten would be critical, as would be the full cooperation of government.
“St. Maarten’s Civil Aviation Authority are completely on board with regards to this plan,” LaBega said.
ITDI, in its vision of becoming the global aviation-training provider of choice, offers top quality training solutions to aviation and travel professionals worldwide. Its approach is to offer practical and relevant training for professional development in areas such as Air Navigation Services, Ground Operations, Airport Planning, Management and Operations, Cargo, Safety, Dangerous Goods Regulations, and Aviation Law amongst others.
With over 430 Global Training Partners in over 90 countries, ITDI has trained more than 95,000 students through its highly sought after Classroom, Distance Learning, Virtual Classroom and Online training courses.
L-R: Regina LaBega, SXM Managing Director, Suzy Kartokromo, SXM Acting Manager, Customer Service Department, Gurjit Gill, Manager, Training Partners and Business Development, Theresa Light, Manager, Regional Training Center The Americas (both of ITDI), and Lionel van der Walt, IATA Area Manager for the Caribbean. (SXM photo)