The celebration of SIMAERO’s 20th Anniversary is the perfect occasion to reflect and look back at the company’s history and how it became what it is today.
SIMAERO has been started as the joint-stock company SIM, registered on 24th May of 2002. The 2 shareholders, former employees of the airline “Air Liberté”, Mr. Eric Renault and Mr. Jean-Marc Petit, opened a simulator training centre in Dinard in the region of Britany (France) not far from the iconic Mont Saint Michel.
Initial operations began with 2 then 3 Fokker Full Flight Simulators (FFS): F100 and F28 regional jets and F27 turboprop. This variety of niche aircraft types on offer allowed the Company to build a steady customer portfolio at the beginning of the new millennia, amongst the then many regional operators of the Dutch aircraft in Europe & Africa and even more remote countries! The business was started in 16 square meters office and only with 1 employee.
In 2008, the company won a contract to provide the French Air Force with pilot training and simulator maintenance on the KC-135 FFS. The KC 135 is a Boeing 707-derived mid-air refueler. This kickstarted the company’s rapid expansion, with strong growth from SIMAERO’s simulator maintenance division.
The business was very successful, and the 2 shareholders decided to invest further new locations and capacity. In 2009 the training center in Johannesburg opened, followed by the Paris training centre in 2010. These major investments increased the number of offered full flight simulators to 12 with the capacity to grow to 18. The growth of the training services division was accompanied by increasing international recognition, most notably with the certification of the Paris training center by the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority, allowing SIMAERO to provide training services to Chinese airlines.
In 2018, Rive Private Investment acquired a majority stake in SIMAERO, the “ideal partner to support the growth of the company and reinforce SIMAERO’s ambition of becoming a global market leader” according to CEO Nicolas Mouté.
Some important contracts have to be mentioned as major development milestones in SIMAERO history :
- The multi-year contract signed in 2010 with EASYJET to source and operate a dedicated brand new A320 FFS.
- The multi-year contract signed in 2011 for the Housing & Maintenance of an ATR 500 FFS in Paris. The success of this contract led ATR to sign in 2017 another similar contract for a second FFS, an ATR 600 FFS (TRU build).
- 3 simulator upgrade contracts signed with the French Air Force for the KC-135 FFS, which is still operational today and under maintenance contract with Simaero.
- In 2021, the contract with HNCA for a creation of a Joint Venture in China, mostly for simulator engineering and maintenance services.
- 4-year A330 MRTT pilot training contract won in March 2021.
- The signature of an exclusive partnership with Air France for marketing & sales of the capacity of Air France Simulators in Paris, in 2021.
Innovation is an important part of SIMAERO development. Thanks to a professional team, WISDOM the online learning system has been introduced and successfully approved for pilots training in March of 2021. It offers a variety of ground courses online as well as virtual training, records management, and instructor standardization tools. What’s most important, it enabled SIMAERO to continue to serve its clients during a global pandemic and even to attract new clients from the entire world.
Today, the SIMAERO group offers 30 Full Flight Simulators across 4 Training Centres worldwide, in Paris, Johannesburg, Zhengzhou, and still in the first Training Centre in Dinard. SIMAERO group’s Team consists of nearly 200 aviation professionals, permanent employees, and freelance instructors. 18 of them have been happy with the self-realization of their professional careers for as long as 10-16 years.
Strong of its 20 years of expansion and improvement, SIMAERO is now proud to offer a complete training package for many customers across the globe and continues to write its next chapter of development.
Headquartered in Paris, France, SIMAERO’s Approved Training Organisation for pilots is certified by EASA as well as by many other civil aviation authorities including South Africa, Senegal, Ivory Coast, UAE, Nepal, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan. The Full Flight Simulators and training solutions cover a comprehensive range of aircraft types including Airbus A320, A330, A340, A350; Boeing 737, B757, B767, B777, B787, ATR 42/72-500/600, ERJ 145, Beech 1900, Dash 8, MD80/82, Fokker 100. SIMAERO also provides Simulator Engineering Services to numerous clients across the world. The services include simulators relocation, repair and upgrade as well as simulator preparation for certification and operation. In Joint Venture with HNCA, SIMAERO is providing simulator engineering and maintenance services in China.