Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer has announced the establishment of a new training center at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg in the first half of 2018. The center will train around 2000 aerospace professionals a year and will be the first facility of its kind in Africa.

The Embraer Training Centre should provide training for pilots, maintenance technicians, and cabin crew. It will be equipped with an E-Jets full-flight simulator, 4 flight management system simulators, a door trainer, and an over wing trainer to deliver pilot training and ground school, engineering courses, and E-Jet familiarization training for cabin crew.

Flight crew and engineering technicians from Embraer operators such as Airlink, the center’s anchor and launch customer and others from across the region and beyond will be trained at the new facility.

“ Skills development and training are an essential factor in unlocking the huge potential of Africa’s market - bringing significant economic growth and the connectivity our people deserve”, said CEO of Airlink Rodger Foster in an official statement. “Airlink is proud to be joining with Embraer in this endeavor.”

The new training center in Johannesburg joins existing Embraer facilities in São Jose dos Campos (Brazil), Nashville (US), and Lisbon (Portugal).

Embraer aircraft have been operating in Africa since 1978. Currently, there are 150 Embraer aircraft in operation with 43 airlines in 22 African countries.

“ Our investment in this training facility underlines the importance of the African continent to Embraer and our commitment to realizing the potential for improved connectivity across the continent, ”said President and CEO, Embraer Services and Support Johann Bordais.

According to IATA, by 2034, air traffic in Africa will grow with an average yearly increase of 4.7%, reaching a total of 294 million passengers. The organization also predicts that 7 of the 10 fastest growing passenger markets over the next 20 years will be on the African continent.