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09 Sept 2008    

Oxford Aviation Academy acquires Australia's leading ab initio training provider

Oxford Aviation Academy ("OAA") has acquired General Flying Services ("GFS"), the leading ab initio airline pilot training organisation in Australia. The acquisition, backed by STAR Capital Partners, is a key strategic addition to the Group's "Aviation Training - ab initio" division which also comprises the former Oxford Aviation Training, one of the world's largest and most respected airline pilot training schools.

Operating from two airports in Melbourne, GFS is the largest supplier of quality airline pilots in Australia. The school trained approximately 330 cadets in its last financial year and plans to grow these numbers to over 500 pilot graduates over the next few years as part of the OAA Group. It is well known for its long established relationships with flag carrier Qantas, as well as offering pilot training educational courses in partnership with two major local universities in Melbourne. Not only does GFS serve the domestic Australian market, the school also conducts training for a significant number of airline cadets from South East Asia, China and the Middle East.

The business adds significant scale and geographic presence to OAA's ab initio training capability, enhancing the Group's service offering in the high growth Australia and Asia Pacific region. It complements the type rating simulator centre at Hong Kong International Airport (A320, A330 / 340 and B737NG) and the significant presence that recently acquired Parc Aviation (the global market leader in flight crew leasing to airlines) already has there. In a region where the training and supply of high quality pilots is in great demand, OAA will have the capability to offer many airlines fully integrated pilot supply and training solutions.

Frank Turner, OAA Chairman commented:

“The acquisition of GFS enhances our ability to deliver our total solution of pilot recruitment, training, development and placement to the Asia Pacific region providing high quality crews to maximise the financial and operating effectiveness of airlines in the region.”

Ross Carrington, GFS Managing Director commented:

“I am extremely excited that GFS is joining OAA and becoming part of a Group that is expanding with such enthusiasm and moreover has an unrivalled capability to offer pilot training and supply solutions to airlines world-wide. I believe that GFS will develop significantly and expand under OAA ownership and that all our employees and customers will see the significant value that being a part of the OAA Group will bring.”

Paul Gough, Partner of STAR Capital Partners commented:

“STAR is once again delighted to support OAA's continued expansion worldwide. The acquisition of GFS is a key step in OAA's strategy to expand its geographical reach and scale in a high growth region for aviation. We look forward to supporting future acquisitions and growth opportunities identified by the OAA management team.”

GFS will be a key component of OAA's Aviation Training - ab initio division (led by MD Anthony Petteford). Ross Carrington will continue to both manage the GFS Melbourne centre and support the further strategic growth in the region.

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