Low-cost airline hopes simulator will help it soar

A passenger plane cruises through the sky, thousands of feet in the air - but the pilots are, in fact, on the ground.

This is Kenya's new state of the art flight simulator: the first of its kind in East Africa and only the third on the continent.

After a global health crisis that's forecast to have cost African airline $40 million, it's a part of a regional strategy to recover.

In Nairobi on Tuesday (May 25), pilots from low-cost Kenyan airline Jambojet are taking the controls, overseen by flight instructor James Strong.

"You are able to put different scenarios. You are able to change the weather. You are able to put malfunctions if need be, and a couple of other things."

The simulator is also able to replicate sensations like those produced when accelerating for takeoff or during turbulence.

It's now operational after a deal struck between FlightSafety International, national carrier Kenyan Airways and JamboJet.

Jambojet's Acting Managing Director Karanga Ndegwa says the simulator will cut operational costs, such as sending pilots overseas for training, by "at least 10%."

"The cockpit crew, pilots' productivity is higher and it is cheaper in terms of you do not pay any hotels, you do not pay any travel."

Airlines across the world have been hit as lockdowns closed borders.

The simulators are being used to train pilots for a new fleet of five De Havilland Canada DHC-8 aircraft.

The planes, simulator, and plans for new routes are all part of a strategy that Jambojet hopes will land the business on firmer ground.

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