Cornwall Ontario – Since August of this year, the community of Cornwall has been host to 30 Air Traffic Control (ATC) students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These students are enrolled in what will be a 24 month training program conducted at the NavCanada Conference Centre.
Initially, students will receive 6 months of English instruction on the NavCanada premises. The language training is conducted through the auspices of the Upper Canada District School board, and will prepare students to meet required proficiency in aviation English, and ATC phraseology.
Following language training, students will be immersed in Visual Flight Rule (VFR) and Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) air traffic control training, using state-of-the-art simulators that will replicate Saudi Arabian airspace and airports.
After 2 years of training in Cornwall, students will return to ATC facilities in their home country to obtain final qualification.
It is expected that additional student intake will occur over the coming months and provide up to 5 years of business for NavCanada and their Cornwall training campus.
A welcome “economic injection” for Cornwall
This is a new beginning for the NavCanada facility, and an economic injection for the local economy. Many of the Saudi students have moved into homes and apartments in the city and have taken up life in our midst. They live, shop, travel on public transit, they take part in public activities, pastimes and observances that make up daily life in Cornwall.
At one time the Transport Canada Training Institute in Cornwall trained all Canadian operational air traffic services personnel, both civilian and military. The facility and its incarnations, have also trained students from as far and wide as Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Colombia, and Iceland.
Since the handover of the school to NavCanada in 1996, all training dwindled and hundreds of instructors and support staff – and close to $100 million a year in payroll – left the city of Cornwall. Only the Department of National Defence maintains full-time aerospace control training in Cornwall.