QATAR - Transport
Director General, Qatar Aeronautical Academy (QAA)
Sheikh Jabor Bin Hamad Al-Thani is the director general of QAA, the government’s official training arm for the air transport sector. Previously, he was the acting CEO & COO of Amiri Flight and an advisor to the Minister of Transport and Communication. He has also held several senior aviation and government positions and led several government-appointed committees. Al-Thani holds a pilot license and has an advanced master’s degree in airline operations from Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC) in France.
What were the main highlights for QAA in 2020?
The major challenge during that period was the pandemic. Because of this, QAA launched its distance learning system given that online learning is the fastest and easiest route in the present situation. The e-learning mechanism guide submitted by Qatar Aeronautical Academy was accredited by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the agency reported that QAA was among the first academies to migrate to distance learning. Moreover, QAA’s guide is used as a criterion for accrediting other academies, and EASA has clarified that it is possible to continue to use the distance learning guide even after the crisis is over. Furthermore, to ensure the new batch would graduate on time, in July QAA held the 2020 graduation ceremony virtually, which was broadcasted on Al-Rayyan TV as well as on different news platforms.
QAA not only trains pilots, but also other professionals of the civil aviation sector. Can you briefly guide us through your main programs?
In addition to the pilot training division, QAA has: aircraft maintenance engineering that is recognized by both QCAA and EASA; a new air transport safety electronics personnel (ATSEP) course to prepare graduates to work as airport technicians; an advanced aviation management program (AAMP) designed to teach a range of subjects including the daily operational running of a modern airport; a meteorology department, a recognized training center that trains students to work in National Met services; the air traffic control department (ATC), whose courses follow criteria set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); and an advanced master’s program in aviation safety management (ASM). Moreover, QAA is an approved testing site for IELTS and QAA IELTS testing center and has obtained two certificates of appreciation and distinction from the granting partner of the authority to practice it.
How do you cooperate with other civil aviation bodies in Qatar to better understand the needs of the sector?
Being a key training provider in Qatar, we work in collaboration with QCAA and provide various training programs for QCAA staff, HIA, Qatar Armed Forces, and Qatar Airways. Moreover, Qatar’s HIA has added much to the aviation sector since 2014, as it is the number-one airport in the world that provides ultra-modern facilities at the disposal of the passenger in addition to its special design features. The ATC tower has become more of a signature piece of architecture that Qatar is identified with.
What does your recent MoU with Qatar University mean for QAA? Can you also elaborate on the potential accreditation from EASA?
With the change in the Amiri decree to convert the college into an academy with the possibility of issuing bachelor degrees, QAA started to explore partnership with national and international universities for top-up program and BSc degrees. QU is a leading university in Qatar, and we have been working with it to explore different ways of cooperation. The agreement between QAA and QU will allow both organization to exchange experts in different fields, research, studies, joint seminars, and workshops. QAA always seeks international recognition for its programs, and the pilot training division is an approved training organization (ATO) under the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority. To open the international market for QAA cadet pilots, we applied to EASA head Quarter in Cologne, Germany, for the EASA approval as an approved training organization for the airline transport pilot license program. Moreover, our QAA A320, DA40, and DA42 simulators are approved by EASA, and this will facilitate the EASA ATO approval process and shorten the timeline to get the approval.
What are your most urgent strategic priorities for 2021?
QAA is working on ensuring the best blended training for all its students and ensuring that the e-learning process will continue to be a part of the education process, even after the pandemic. QAA prioritizes the health and safety of its staff and students without compromising the learning experience. Additionally, we are also focusing on upgrading our facility as well as our simulators to make sure our students are trained accordingly.
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