Screw Oxford? Montreal is where it’s at.

Canadian CAE acquires Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA) for C$314 million dollars, but what does this mean to the studying pilots here at our local Moorabbin Airport. Not that much really.


The Oxford Aviation Academy has enjoyed a 50-year pedigree of excellence, and the CAE-operated flight schools will now be branded CAE Oxford Aviation Academy.

CAE: Press Release (PDF)
CAE’s Acquisition, Conference Notes (PDF) for Financial Analysts.
Conference Remarks (PDF)

CAE is a global provider of simulators, modelling technologies and training for the aviation and defence industry worldwide with over 60 years of experience. Oxford is in the same pedigree with it’s ab-initio academies, facilities and simulators across the globe, though less than half the size of CAE.

Moorabbin training facilities were really only a recent acquisition when Oxford took over General Flying Services (GFS) in 2008, which back then catered for Qantas pilot cadetships (which currently doesn’t exist anymore, but more on that some other time). Oxford’s expertise has brought in a number of other contracts, although OAA’s page isn’t terribly specific. Vietnam Airlines get’s mentioned and another one is Dragonair from Hong Kong.

CAE’s purchase of Oxford and Parc aviation is expected to deliver revenue of $280M, but not bad for an outlay of C$314 million. Whilst the world overall is in a bit of a pickle with it’s financial debacle Oxford is still able to deliver strongly considering its portfolio of training centres.

CAE Vice President and CFO remarks: “The business model for crew sourcing services… typically generates 2 to 4 percent operating margins.”  “The combined CAE and Oxford business increases the proportion of our business that is derived from recurring services and is expected to continue generating strong operating cash flow… the acquisition to be accretive to CAE’s earnings beginning in our fiscal year 2014.”

Why Oxford? At first glance OAA’s operations in Hong Kong, Japan and China are certainly big deals – CAE agrees. Could Moorabbin be an immensely huge opportunity for CAE? With lucrative deals Air Asia and Cebu Pacific both growing Asia region carriers, Melbourne is well placed to grow with this. But it looks unlikely given the additional investment required with the current training capacity still able to offer choice to airlines.

Map pictureBut what else for our MB based studying pilots? A huge ramp up of operations happened when GFS officially became OAA from 2009. What is important is that the student doesn’t suffer from the potential mess a restructure/rebranding can have. 2009 was a delicate year, the guinea pigs of FEE-HELP solution for pilots at Swinburne University. Today’s entrants now enjoy a refined course, and the organization has learnt from the mistakes of the classes of 2012 and 2013.

Subsequently operations have largely expanded the organization; at one stage Oxford the only provider of higher education pilot training. OAA also briefly managed RMIT flying component of training based in Point Cook – but this has ceased, making Swinburne’s OAA partnership the only one of it’s kind in Victoria (for now).

Oxford grew expanding it’s additional training centre in Second Avenue at Moorabbin Airport (see right). There had also been plans to construct a new building (Building No. 18) at Moorabbin, but either the opportunity to simply take over the old CASA building was more convenient alternative than demolishing the block or plans of questionable existence won’t come to fruition. The block still remains quite idle. But I digress.

CSWAFC peepsCAE already has experience in Australia, operating “China Southern West Australian Flying College Pty. Ltd.” Their fleet spectacles includes jet turbine engine Citation Bravo and Embraer Phenom, in line with other training aircraft like the Grob G115C2 (I’ve never seen one), Seminole’s and  quality simulators. Can they send the jets for a visit to Moorabbin?




CAE acquires Oxford Aviation Academy for C$314 million
strengthening its global leadership position and footprint and
extending its offering with a complete end-to-end solution

– Adds seven new civil aviation training centres to its global network for a total of 42 civil training locations worldwide

– Adds 40 full-flight simulators for a total of 211
– Adds four flight school locations under the esteemed Oxford brand, bringing the number of CAE-operated flight schools to 12 and cadet capacity to 1,500 annually
– Broadens portfolio by extending into pilot and maintenance crew sourcing  via Parc Aviation which has  more than 1,200 aviation personnel on assignment with 50 airlines and leasing companies
– Accretive to CAE’s earnings in fiscal year 2014


One thought on “Screw Oxford? Montreal is where it’s at.

  1. They buy but ooops now need to lay people off, force vacation, cancel Xmas parties.. they sort of over stepped. One can only hope they are not involved in the corruption scandal plagueing la belle province

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