11 May 2010

Omni Aviation opens pilot school in Subic

Omni Aviation Corporation, the country’s premier pilot school, has opened its facilities in this free port, as the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) expanded its thrust in providing aviation services.

From its home-base at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga, Omni Aviation expanded into Subic and renovated Hangar 8128, which was used by US Navy war planes until 1992.

Captain Ben Hur Gomez, Omni chairman and chief executive, said the Subic facility is part of his company’s vision to become the premier pilot school and fixed-base operator in the Southeast Asian region.

Investing P33 million for its start-up operations here, Omni will use the facility for its instruction room, flight demonstration room, administration office, and conference room.

Six aircrafts, including four for the flying school and two for chartering services, will be dedicated for the Subic operation.

“The reason why we chose Subic as our extension facility is because of its very natural environment which is very essential and inspiring to students,” Gomez said, adding that their students, many of whom are foreigners, are delighted upon seeing the Subic facility.

“Look around Subic. All you can see is the blue bay, the green mountains and clear skies. I believe all these things will make Omni more popular” Gomez said.

Aside from the flying school, Omni’s Subic operation will include air taxi service, fun flights, and Pinatubo and other air tours flights, which are expected to boost Subic as a tourist destination in the region.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza, meanwhile, expressed optimism that Subic would regain some its commercial flights once the casino and hotel projects in the free port build up.

“This is also a good thing for Omni,” he added.

According to Arreza, Omni Aviation is just one of the many air companies that have shown interest in leasing some of the facilities inside Subic’s airport complex.

He said these include two companies that will utilize the facilities previously leased by Federal Express (FedEx). One of the two companies is engaged in providing corporate jet service, while the other is into maintenance and repair.

Omni Aviation is a registered domestic corporation established in 1993 at the Clark Freeport Zone. It operates a flying school, serves as a fixed-base operator, and provides services like charter flights, aircraft moorage, aircraft management, maintenance and repair, overhaul and pilot shop operation.

Gomez said the company started only as a one-plane, one-pilot, one-mechanic and one-staff operation, but has grown over the years and now owns and operates 22 aircraft: 15 Cessna 152, five Cessna 172, a Cessna 172X, and a Seneca Piper 34-200.

Omni’s staff has also grown to 30 personnel, while its student population has grown to 135.

“We continue to expand and upgrade our fleet, slowly but surely,” Gomez added. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

Omni Aviation’s aircraft fleet at the Subic Bay International Airport complex.