PRINCE SULTAN AVIATION ACADEMY

Saudi Arabia 2020 | AVIATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ismael S. Alkoshy, Managing Director of Prince Sultan Aviation Academy on aviation sector.

Ismael S. Alkoshy
BIOGRAPHY
Ismael S. Alkoshy was appointed managing director of the Prince Sultan Aviation Academy (PSAA) in July 2018. Before this appointment, he was the CEO of the Saudia Royal Fleet. His experience in aviation spans more than 32 years, and he has held numerous executive positions throughout the aviation sector. Alkoshy is an active pilot currently flying the Boeing 777. He has over 10,000 hours of flying experience as a pilot on the Boeing 777, Lockheed 1011, Airbus 320, McDonnell Douglas 90, and the Boeing 737.

Can you walk us through the history of PSAA since its founding 60 years ago?

When it opened, PSAA was the only place in the Middle East to offer commercial aviation training. Today, we have moved away from being a training center only for Saudi Arabian Airlines to a strategic business unit. The government's goal is to have us at the highest level of training possible, with a focus on safety and quality. Looking back, we have achieved great progress, keeping up with the latest advances in technology with state-of-the-art full flight simulators that create situations as close to reality as possible. As part of our considerable investments in technology, we have developed our distance-learning program to support our customers by lowering their training costs. Indeed, we have pilots and flight attendants who need to take time off work and travel here to Jeddah in order to undergo training. To accommodate their needs, we have been approved to do distance learning.

What is your assessment of the current transition in the Saudi aviation sector, as the reforms of Vision 2030 reach implementation phase?

In order to sustain future development, we need to have an aviation industry in sync with projected economic growth and diversification. Saudi Arabian Airlines has a long-term plan to cope with that, which includes expansion. In fact, one of the major items that will be a turning point for the industry will be the opening of the new King Abdulaziz International Airport, which is the base for Saudia Arabian Airlines. Moreover, with the opening of e-visas and by turning our location into a transit hub, Saudi Arabia will grow. The sector will see growth in the next 10 to 15 years. Though it may not happen in the next year or two, there will be a spurt of growth, which will level out later.