Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) revealed on Wednesday that the academy-run flight school will relocate to the international airport to be inaugurated in Maafaru, Noonu Atoll.
As of present, Maldives' only flying school is based in Gan, Addu City.
According to local media Mihaaru, Chief Executive Officer of AAA, Captain Suranjan De Silva, said that the final preparations to open the school in Maafaru were currently underway, and would provide higher quality services than before, such as accommodation for students.
"We will construct rooms to accommodate 200 students, so that the costs they will have to pay for accommodation would drastically decrease", said Suranjan.
Suranjan further revealed that the decision to relocate the flying school to Maafaru in July 2020 was due to Addu International Airport (AIA) hiking up the lease, whereas the lease in Maafaru is much cheaper in comparison.
"New jobs will open up for Maafaru natives as a result", he declared.
Suranjan further disclosed that, in addition to the opening, an Aviation Engineering School would be run in the near future. However, he elaborated that the introduction of teaching the subject would be contingent on the running of the flying school.
"The first phase is to relocate the flying school to Maafaru. Work to introduce engineering courses can only begin afterwards".
After AAA made comments stating that the school was being relocated due to Addu International Aiport hiking lease rates, AIA declared that the flying school did not provide much profit for the company or the administration.
While students must pay USD 45,000 to study piloting, AIA Director Ibrahim Noordeen revealed at the Parliamentary Committee on State-Owned Enterprises (SOE), that the school enrolled 150 students in 2018. He alleged that the school would have made approximately USD 7 million from fees last year alone, with 354 students having completed the program till date.
He stated, "Approximately USD 12 million was received till date. Addu airport attained USD 38,000 between 2012- 2018. Certain lands were leased for USD 400,000. As such, the amount generated for the Atoll or the government from the flying school is very little".
Noordeen further commented that 80 percent of the school's operations were being conducted without charging a fee, nor was the flying school charged fees for aviation or night-flying.