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Whanganui to benefit from $50 million training deal

A commercial pilot academy based at Whanganui Airport has struck a $50 million deal with India's largest passenger airline to train hundreds of pilots.

The New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy said IndiGo Airlines will start sending cadet pilots to be trained at its campus from 2020 in an agreement that will last two and a half years.

The academy's chief executive, Phillip Bedford, said this is the flight training operator's first deal with an airline.

"This is exciting for us because it's taking what we are currently doing in Whanganui and making it a truly global flight training operation."

Eighty pilots are trained in Whanganui each year, and the deal means this number will rise to around 180, he said.

Bedford said the academy will also double its staff and fleet of planes, and has opened an office in India to select cadets.

Whanganui will benefit from the increase in jobs and people visiting the region, he said.

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