Nav Canada Trains Saudi Arabian ATC Students

October 11, 2013
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – Thirty students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are in Cornwall training to become Air Traffic Controllers as part of an agreement between Nav Canada and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

The students will complete all their required training at the NAV CENTRE, the world-class training and conference facility along the St Lawrence River, owned and operated by Nav Canada. Training will last for about two academic years, at which time the students will seek qualification as controllers at air traffic control (ATC) facilities in their home country.

“We very much appreciate the opportunity to work with the Saudi Arabia civil aviation authority on this exciting educational opportunity, and we are determined to give this enthusiastic group of students an exceptional learning experience,” said Andy Campbell, Nav Canada Vice President, Customer and Commercial Services.

Classes started at the Nav Centre in late August. Coursework is now focused on English language instruction specifically designed to teach the students ICAO-standard proficiency in Aviation English, and in ATC phraseology.

Following language training, the students will begin a comprehensive study of all aspects of VFR and IFR air traffic control. In this phase, much of their training will be conducted on the Nav Centre’s advanced simulators, updated to accurately replicate Saudi Arabian airspace.

Students will learn aerodrome control, non-radar and radar approach control, air traffic management, and all aspects of Air Navigation System (ANS) communications, navigation and surveillance. Also planned are two, five-day familiarization tours of Nav Canada facilities to provide an understanding of day-to-day operations.

“We are pleased to be working with our Saudi Arabian counterparts,” said Duane Clefstad, Director, International Training at Nav Canada. “They value our ability to custom-build courses, which sets us apart from a lot of ATC training schools. While we tailor our courses to meet the requirements of Saudi Arabia or any other jurisdiction, we do so in ways that meet ICAO standards. And our courses can start at any time during the year, on a timetable that suits the customer.”

The NAV CENTRE has a long history of training air traffic controllers, and training international students is something staff understand well.

“The NAV CENTRE has the capabilities to accommodate international students year-round,” says Kim Coe-Turner, General Manager at NAV CENTRE. “We partner with other groups in the community to ensure that our students feel welcome and have the opportunity to experience what its like to live in Canada.”

About the NAV CENTRE

Located on the scenic shores of the St. Lawrence River in Cornwall, the NAV CENTRE is a full service conference centre offering access to 551 guest rooms and 70 dedicated state-of-the-art meeting rooms, spa, fitness centre with indoor pool and an Irish pub with live entertainment. The Centre can accommodate small groups of five to large groups of up to 500. Learn more at


NAV CANADA is Canada’s civil air navigation services provider. It is a private sector, non-share capital corporation financed through publicly-traded debt. With operations coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

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