ST Aerospace, a subsidiary of ST Engineering, has opened a new $26.6 million aviation centre at Seletar Aerospace Park (SAP).

Housing air charter, ground and flight training facilities, the new three-storey building will boost the company's training capabilities.

ST Aerospace president Chang Cheow Teck said at the opening ceremony yesterday: "This enlarged Seletar presence will enable ST Aerospace to serve our customers better in Singapore, given a broader range of aviation and training service."

The new facility includes two flight simulators for the Airbus A320 - one full flight and one fixed base - with room for four more. The simulators are part of the ST Aerospace Academy's commercial pilot training programmes. The academy partners airlines such as Tiger Airways and Qatar Airways to offer Multi-Crew Pilot licences.

More than 300 cadet pilots have graduated from the academy, and 200 more are still undergoing training, Mr Chang said.

The company will expand its technical crew training business, adding classrooms and computer training facilities to the complex by year-end.

Besides training, the complex will house ST Aerospace's air charter business, with a VIP lounge and an operations centre.

ST Aerospace's two air charter subsidiaries, Pacific Flight Services and Helicopter Flight Services, operate six business jets and one helicopter. They provide executive air travel and ambulance services for the region.

The new 6,000 square metre facility makes ST Aerospace the second-largest tenant in SAP, occupying more than 75,000 sq m. Its facilities in Seletar can handle up to 24 general aviation aircraft and 11 narrow-body planes.

"Seletar was the birthplace of our operations 38 years ago," Mr Chang said. At the time, the company had 70 employees and focused on maintenance.

Today, it employs around 8,500 people worldwide, and provides integrated services, from freighter conversions to pilot training.

Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, said that the growth potential for aviation in Asia was tremendous since rising affluence gives rise to an expansion of air travel. This would in turn bring about an increase in demand for maintenance services.

In addition, Changi Airport's expansion would include a dedicated industrial zone that would enable maintenance, repair and overhaul activities to flourish, she said.