L3 Commercial Aviation has placed an order for up to 240 new Piper aircraft options to expand and modernise its aircraft training fleet across its Airline Academy pilot training sites. The fleet will support the growing demand for L3's cadet pilot programmes in light of the global shortage of pilots. This is the largest civilian fleet order received in Piper history and comes on the heels of a similar deal announced in 2018 for 152 aircraft from Fanmei Aviation Technologies.
The aircraft on order will be equipped with the latest technology used on commercial jets, providing a training environment for pilots of the future as they prepare for their goal of joining a commercial airline. As part of the contract, the first 26 aircraft will be delivered in 2019 from April onwards, including seven twin engine Piper Seminoles.
“Many cadets tell us that the first time they take to the skies is one of the most exhilarating and important moments in their training journey,” states VP of Airline Academy Geoff van Klaveren. “That's why we are continuously exploring ways to improve the quality and capacity of our training facilities. This significant investment in expanding and modernising our fleet will help us in our aspiration to provide the highest quality training while meeting the increasing international demand for new pilots from our airline customers.”
Piper president and CEO Simon Caldecott adds: “We are delighted to sign this long-term agreement with L3, knowing that trusted Piper trainer aircraft will once again launch thousands of aspiring pilots' careers around the world. Our advanced training aircraft are the ideal classrooms for cadets to learn and first experience the unique joy of flying.”
The new Pipers will be based at L3's Airline Academies in Florida, US; Ponte de Sor, Portugal and in the UK. The deal represents a significant investment in L3's infrastructure and training capacity across its international footprint.