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19 June 2007   

GCAT Flight Academy Acquires Oxford Aviation Training

GCAT Flight Academy today announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Oxford Aviation Training (OAT) - a world leading 'ab-initio' airline pilot training organisation - from BBA Aviation plc. The acquisition of OAT by GCAT Flight Academy, which itself was created through the combination of General Electric Commercial Aviation Training and SAS Flight Academy in February 2007, creates an enlarged and exciting global pilot training organisation, with significant capabilities to create innovative training solutions for airlines. The transaction is expected to complete within the next two weeks.

This acquisition, which is supported by GCAT Flight Academy's majority shareholder STAR Capital Partners, is a further step towards the GCAT Flight Academy strategy of building a business that is the first choice training partner for many of the world's airlines.

As the largest ab-initio airline pilot training school in Europe, OAT enjoys a widely acknowledged reputation as the premier provider of innovative professional flight training courses as well as an extensive range of interactive Computer Based Training ground training courses. Over 270 trainee pilots enrol annually in its 16 month, full-time APP First Officer Integrated course; setting OAT apart as the provider of one of the most comprehensive pilot training programmes available in the market today.

OAT has training centres both at Oxford Airport in the UK, and Phoenix Goodyear Airport in the USA, utilising 54 single and twin-engine training aircraft in combination with a range of 8 latest generation instrument flight simulators.

OAT will become an integral part of the GCAT Flight Academy pilot training family - enrolling high calibre, carefully selected trainees to receive world class training to prepare them for their careers as pilots of sophisticated, latest generation aircraft. This complete airline pilot training capability will now enable GCAT Flight Academy to further accelerate the development and implementation of the new Multi Crew Pilot's License (MPL) training curriculum.

Commenting on the new acquisition:

Brian Simpson, GCAT Flight Academy Group Chief Executive Officer said:

"The acquisition of OAT significantly strengthens GCAT Flight Academy's ability to meet the total needs of airlines for their future pilot requirements. We have acquired a world class premier Flight Training Organisation (FTO) and created the full capability to offer a complete 'in-house' pilot training product of the very highest quality and standards. The integration of the two companies can only be to the benefit of the airline community who will face ever growing needs for new high quality pilots in the future."

Anthony Petteford, Managing Director of Oxford Aviation Training added:

"OAT is already a highly respected FTO within the worldwide aviation community - having trained over 20,000 aviation professionals for over 80 different airlines and Air Forces over the past 43 years. The unique combination of our comprehensive ab-initio training courses and innovative training technology from OAT Media with the extensive range of GCAT Flight Academy "type-rating" programmes means we are able to offer exciting and complete airline pilot training programmes - taking trainee pilots from zero experience to the right hand seat of a modern commercial airliner - and beyond."

Paul Gough, Investment Director of STAR Capital Partners, GCAT Flight Academy's majority shareholder, stated:

"STAR is pleased to support GCAT Flight Academy's acquisition of OAT. As stated at the time of our original investment in GCAT Flight Academy, we were looking to support the company's management in consolidating their growth market through a commitment to a "buy and build" strategy. We are delighted that this high quality acquisition has been identified and completed so soon after the initial combination of GE Commercial Aviation Training and SAS Flight Academy.

STAR believes that consolidation of the flight training industry will provide airlines with enhanced outsourcing solutions for their flight training requirements and looks forward to continuing to support the combined group's growth objectives."

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