Friday, January 16, 2009

Non-military Pilots to be Trained in Rangoon

The Irrawaddy News

Military-ruled Burma is set to open a pilot ground training school at Hmawbi Air Force Base in Rangoon Division that—for the first time—will allow non-military applicants to obtain commercial pilots’ licenses, according to sources at the base.

The pilot ground training school is due to be opened at the end of January to young men and women between 20 and 30 years of age. The 30-week course will cost 1.5 million kyat (US $1,300).

The January 5 issue of Rangoon-based weekly journal The Voice quoted a senior official from the Department of Civil Aviation as saying that the course will help develop civilian pilots and will be taught at the Department of Civil Aviation in accordance with the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Burma has two air force training schools—the Meiktila Flying Training Base and the Ground Training Air Force Base in Meiktila, Mandalay Division—exclusively for air force personnel.

The two training schools were also home to the Burmese air forces’ specialist training facilities, including administration, electronics training and flight training.

According to sources, Burma’s first two female pilots are currently being trained to fly in Malaysia.

Air Bagan, a domestic private airline owned by Tay Za, a crony of Burma’s junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe, reportedly sponsored the two female pilots, who are staff members of Air Bagan.

Only state-owned Myanmar Airways, and three private airlines—Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and Air Bagan—operate domestic routes in the country.

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