K. Male'
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01 Jun 2021 | Tue 01:20
Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula attended a virtual meeting at parliament alongside Higher Education Minister Dr. Ibrahim Hassan
Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula attended a virtual meeting at parliament alongside Higher Education Minister Dr. Ibrahim Hassan
RaajjeMV
Minister Nahula on AAA
Solution is a new institute, but only option to train students at AAA: Minister Nahula
There are no aircrafts in flying condition at Asian Academy of Aeronautics
Minister Nahula stated that the only viable option was to continue training students at AAA
The government explored four options to resolve issues being faced by students at Addu Flying School

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula has stated that the only viable option for students at Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) is to continue training at the institute.

The Parliament Committee on National Development and Heritage had Transport Minister Nahula and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Ibrahim Hassan attend a virtual session on Monday, to question them about the issues being faced by students unable to complete their studies at Addu Flying School.

Both ministers had detailed the efforts that had been made thus far to resolve this issue, which has cost students hundreds of thousands in school fees without allowing them to complete their studies.

In referring to the issue, Minister Nahula stated that the government had explored four options in attempting to provide a solution for students of Addu Flying School. As such, one of the avenues explored was to have students complete their studies from abroad, with Minister Nahula stating that a flying school in the Czech Republic had the only one to express interest in facilitating that. However, Minister Nahula stated that communications with them had halted without both parties having come to an agreement. Unofficial accounts suggest that the flying school in Czech Republic had hesitated to make such a big investment due to the prevailing difficulties of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to this, Minister Nahula revealed that discussions with Villa College and Manta Air, two approved institutes in the Maldives, had not resulted in formalized mutual agreements.

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula had stated that the only solution to the challenges being faced by students of Addu Flying School was to establish a separate institute, but also confirmed that option had not been facilitated as of yet.

Minister Nahula went on to state that that the only viable option right now was to have students complete their training at Asian Academy of Aeronautics. However, Minsiter Nahula noted there were no aircrafts at Addu Flying School in flying condition at this time, but added that 90 percent of the spare parts ordered earlier this year had been delivered and were now being assembled. Minister Nahula highlighted that there was a simulator available to train students at AAA, but also remarked that the institute had been closed temporarily due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in Addu City.

Further, Minister Nahula added that some students of AAA would run out of time to complete 36 flying hours within this month and next month, and stressed the importance of providing a swift solution to them soon.

During the committee meeting, Minsiter of Higher Education Dr. Ibrahim Hassan stated that the government had been in discussions with a number of flying schools abroad to resolve this issue. However, as AAA is not an institute approved by International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA), Minister Dr. Hassan noted that European flying schools had not been interested in coming to an agreement over the issue. Further, Minister Dr. Hassan highlighted that the cost of having 211 students of AAA complete flight training abroad totaled MVR 320 million, and that discussions had been conducted on the matter with the Ministry of Finance.

Minister Dr. Hassan further highlighted that the challenges being faced by piloting students in Maldives had been considered when opening up opportunities for student loans this year as well, with students given the opportunity to complete their studies in the Maldives and from abroad. In addition to this, he revealed that efforts were underway to have loans taken by students from BML transferred to the Ministry of Higher Education with their consent. Minister Dr. Hassan assured that students of Addu Flying School would be given the chance to complete their studies from three additional flying schools being established in the Maldives with assistance from the government.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that he will be working to hold those responsible for infringing the rights of Addu Flying School accountable for their actions. In detailing this, Spokesperson for the President's Office Mabrook Azeez stated that the government would be looking into the Head of Pilot Training and Accountable Manager at the Civil Aviation Authority, following issues highlighted in an audit for that authority.

Mabrook stated that it was the government's decision to have an independent audit conducted to assess negligence on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority in the deterioration of the AAA conflict, and to have steps taken against those responsible if that were the case. Mabrook had also detailed the efforts to have students' BML loans transferred under the Ministry of Higher Education as they were rapidly racking up interest at the nation's largest bank.

Addu Flying School was given an opportunity to cease infringing on the rights of students in January this year, after having been fined MVR 35,000 under the Maldives Civil Aviation Act for allowing the situation to worsen as such. The Act allows for parties who defy provisions in the Act to be fined an amount lower than MVR 100,000.

The Civil Aviation Authority has also revoked the permit issued to Suranjan De Silva, the Head of Training at the Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) established in Gan of Addu City

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