Belgocontrol and Entry Point North enter into joint venture to enable training of future Air Traffic Controllers in Brussels

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Belgocontrol organises its own staff training, including the one to become an air traffic controller. For organising its training sessions, the Belgian air navigation service provider will enter into a joint venture with Entry Point North, one of the largest Air Traffic Services academies worldwide. That co-operation will ensure that Belgocontrol staff are provided with the necessary training until at least 2025.

Entry Point North was established in 2006 and is jointly owned by three Air Navigation Service Providers: LFV in Sweden, Naviair in Denmark and IAA in Ireland, each of them owning 33% of the company. The company has its headquarters in Malmö (Sweden) and training sites in Budapest, Shannon, Dublin, Copenhagen and Madrid. Brussels will be the seventh city where Entry Point North will be active. The joint venture with Belgocontrol will create a new subsidiary that will be called Entry Point North Belgium. It will be operational by the summer of 2018. Belgocontrol and Entry Point North will each contribute 50% to the new Belgium subsidiary.

This joint venture will surely provide Belgocontrol with a high-quality training offer that is tailored to the needs of the company in a cost-efficient way. The new training organisation can benefit from Entry Point North’s know-how and ample experience based on their internationally renowned training methodology and philosophy, while Belgocontrol contributes its staff and infrastructure. Thanks to this cross-pollination Belgocontrol can keep providing its staff training on its own site and further boost the knowledge level of its instructors.

Entry Point North Belgium

Furthermore, thanks to the joint venture, Belgocontrol can position itself as a player in the international training market. It is expected that Entry Point North Belgium will be able to extend their training offer to external (foreign) customers.

This far-reaching collaboration with Entry Point North perfectly reflects the strategy of Belgocontrol to enter into partnerships in many of its activity domains. In doing so, the company preferably looks towards organisations of comparable size.

Johan Decuyper, CEO Belgocontrol

Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO:

Entry Point North is a trustworthy partner with the highest professional standards. The partnerships they have already built with other European air traffic control centres -each and every one of which is successful- are proof of that. Through this joint venture, we wish to establish a strong foothold in the Single European Sky of tomorrow.

Anne Kathrine Jensen, Entry Point North CEO:

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Anne Kathrine Jensen, CEO Entry Point North

Entry Point North is honoured to be awarded this important contract. While delivering training in Malmö for new air traffic control trainees from Belgium in the past few years, we have established an excellent relationship with Belgocontrol and are looking forward to continue our cooperation. We see Belgium as an attractive location for any third party customers in the future.

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François Bellot, Belgian Federal Minister for Mobility

François Bellot, Belgian Minister for Mobility:

I look forward to this first partnership between Belgocontrol and a renowned actor in the field of training for air traffic controllers. It guarantees the best balance between the two companies’ expertise and a maintained high level of qualification of our air traffic controllers.

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The signatories of the joint-venture: From left to right: Renaud Lorand, Chairman of the Board Belgocontrol; Minister François Bellot; Johan Decuyper, CEO Belgocontrol; Anne Kathrine Jensen, CEO Entry Point North and Sören Stahlfest Möller, Chairman of the Board Entry Point North.

7 December 2017

Some additional comments:

In the past, future Belgian air traffic controllers were trained on site at Belgocontrol, which required heavy investments. Currently, the initial training is done in Sweden (Malmö), but European regulations require part of the final training to be done on site. Belgocontrol examined which possibilities could be looked at for the future. There were three options:

  • In-house training: heavy investments
  • Complete outsourcing: but still final training in-house as required by European Regulation
  • Strategic partnership: this was the solution retained after a tendering procedure for a joint venture which was won by Entry Point North.

The joint venture will provide that the whole training can occur in Belgium, at the Belgocontrol facilities. These training facilities could even host foreign students.

The first Belgian students to undergo this new procedure will start their training at Brussels Airport at the end of 2018.

On another topic, Minister Bellot said that the Belgian skies are very complicated with civilian and military zones on a small territory, plus the additional issue of drones. He is working on a project to unify the Belgian sky.

The press conference was preceded by a visit to the air traffic simulator room with a demonstration by students under different conditions: sunshine, snow, night, and even a terror attack on a Brussels Airlines A330 on the tarmac.

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ATC simulator room with students at work

Text and pictures © André Orban

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