Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has celebrated the graduation of a group of seven Seychellois engineers who have completed a comprehensive training programme with Etihad Airways.
Antoine Francois, Cliffton Leon, Damien Azemia, Erol Agricole, Hervé Toulon, Mario DeSylva and Marlon Nourrice embarked on the specialist four-year course in September 2012, where they learnt about both the theoretical and practical components of aircraft maintenance engineering.
The engineers were congratulated on their accomplishment at a special ceremony attended by Christoph Schippel, General Manager Operations of Air Seychelles; Jeff Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways Engineering; Faisal Al Mulla, Senior Manager Graduate Engineering Programme at Etihad Airways; and Kevin Pereira, Head of Engineering Training at Etihad Airways.
Roy Kinnear, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, said: “We’re delighted to welcome home our talented engineers and congratulate them for successfully finishing one of the top aircraft maintenance engineering programmes in the world.
Air Seychelles’ engineering graduates are pictured with management from both airlines, including Christophe Schippel, Air Seychelles General Manager Operations (centre left), and Jeff Wilkinson, Etihad Airways Engineering Chief Executive Officer (centre right)
“The four-year programme enabled our engineers to gain a wealth of experience with modern Airbus aircraft that form the backbone of our international fleet, made possible by our partnership with Etihad Airways.
“Their graduation once again demonstrates our commitment to the professional development of Seychellois youth, as well as the emphasis we place on human resources which is vital for securing the future of Air Seychelles.”
Jeff Wilkinson said: “We offer our congratulations to the seven engineers who today celebrate their graduation from the Etihad Airways Graduate Engineering Training programme. This graduation ceremony marks a significant moment in their careers as they look forward to a great future with Air Seychelles.
“Over the past four years these men have gained knowledge and valuable hands-on experience on technologically advanced aircraft as they immersed themselves in an organisation of engineering excellence. We are confident they will be an asset to their national carrier as they use the skills and knowledge they acquired at Etihad Airways Engineering’s world-class facility in Abu Dhabi.”
The theory sessions fulfilled European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)requirements for an aircraft maintenance engineering licence. Courses included aviation regulations, digital techniques and aerodynamics.
Following their classroom training, the students rotated between aircraft hangars in Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, where they honed their practical skills and learned from senior professionals of Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways.
The practical component of the course covered various aspects of line maintenance and engineering checks on Airbus aircraft, such as the A320s and A330s in the Air Seychelles fleet, all the way up to the A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft operated by Etihad Airways.
Speaking about his experience, Erol Agricole, 26, said: “Settling into life in Abu Dhabi was easy as there were seven of us from Seychelles and we received a lot of support. The training was very in-depth and covered many areas in aviation maintenance engineering. It emphasised to us that our job is critical for ensuring the safety of aircraft and, as such, accountability is very important in our line of work.”
Fellow graduate Cliffton Leon, 34, said: “The training was fantastic and really showed us how much work goes on in the background while the aircraft is on the ground. We have all learned a lot and gained significant aircraft maintenance experience that we look forward to putting to good use in Air Seychelles.”