Air Transport World

FlightSafety Boeing = Alteon: with a new name, the world's largest aviation training company, wholly owned by Boeing, will broaden global reach. (Training).

While most of the aviation world was strapping down the lid of the cash chest as tightly as possible, Boeing decided last year that it so believed in the future of flight training that it spent hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure its position in the marker. Locking in its control of FlightSafety Boeing Training International, Boeing bought out its partner last year and just last month announced that the company's name will be changed to Alteon later this year.

Not that its joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway's FlightSafety International wasn't already strong. FSB was and is the world's largest aviation training firm, with the widest dispersal of facilities and assets and the largest list of potential built-in customers. It trains 30,000 people annually, 19,000 in flight training and 11,000 in technical courses.

But what Boeing didn't have that it wanted in FSB was control. This would have been less of a question had the deciding vote been more to Boeing's liking, but the FSI side of the operation was not as internationally oriented as Boeing and certainly had less interest in packaging training with other Boeing services, including aircraft sales. And although the company was said to he a 50/50 JV, with each side having invested $100 million in the startup, FlightSafety is believed widely to have held a "golden share" that gave it veto power in the partnership.

The US market for third-party flight training is a good deal smaller than its proportion of world traffic, since most Majors including Southwest operate substantial training operations. They use third-party training providers for overflow during flush times, pulling back to their own resources in bad times. And even though FSB officials believe that more of the huge US training market should open up to outside providers as legacy airlines face up to inevitable restructuring, the hot marker is the international arena, says Paul D. …

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