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Addu based flight school gears up to close shop

Ahmed Aiham
17 July 2019, MVT 21:26
Asian Academy of Aeronautics based in Gan, Addu Atoll, the only flight school in the country. PHOTO: ASIAN ACADEMY OF AERONAUTICS
Ahmed Aiham
17 July 2019, MVT 21:26

Addu International Airport Company (AIA) run Sri Lanka’s Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA), on Wednesday, revealed that the flight school will close shop in June, 2020.

In an interview with local media Mihaaru, AAA's CEO and head of pilot training, Captain Suranjan De Silva, explained that while the initial agreement will draw to a close this July, the negotiations for an extension have broken down.

According to the CEO, the discussions failed as AIA demanded MVR 12 monthly rent for every square foot, which De Silva expressed was a higher rental charge than what "tourist hotels" had to pay, citing it as thee sole reason for the unsuccessful talks.

Moreover, as some students are yet to complete their courses, AIA has decided to extend the agreement until the end of next year. However, De Silva stated that the flight school will close before the conclusion of 2020.

"We have decided on moving to another country in July", said the CEO.

As the flight school gears up to end its services in the country, some guardians of these pilot hopefuls have raised concerns, claiming neglect in conducting its courses, highlighting that two-year courses have become delayed up to five and six years, causing various families financial duress.

Denying the claims, De Silva alleged negligence by the students and their guardians, stating that delays were caused by attendance issues and failure to pay course fees on time.

AAA, a pilot training and flight school accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), was officially opened in the southernmost island of Gan in Addu City on July 26, 2010. Its management was awarded to AIA until 2019. Mihaaru understands that prior to AIA’s second thoughts on renewing the contract, the company had previously requested an extension of 20 years.

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