By Scott Radway

KOROR, Palau, (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 17) - The Japan Aviation Academy has committed to opening a campus in Palau, creating opportunities for people in the region to learn to fly and for Japanese to gain U.S. pilot licenses.

President Tommy Remengesau said a memorandum of commitment was signed between the flight school and Palau, which paves the way for a campus to open as early as April. Academy officials this week visited the old airport terminal at the Palau International Airport in Airai State in their search for a school site.

Although the details are not finalized, the academy -- the oldest flight school in Japan -- expects to operate a private aviation high school for Japanese students who have taken the prerequisite courses, said Billy Kuartei, Remengesau's chief of staff. Students from the region will be able to take courses at the academy through Palau Community College.

Palau, part of a former trust territory of the United States, currently falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and will allow Japanese students to train for U.S. certification, according to academy officials.

Remengesau said the academy would have the added benefit of bringing assets, such as a helicopter and seaplanes that can aid the republic in emergencies.

Remengesau added that in a post-Sept. 11 world, more people will charter planes to islands such as Palau as a safeguard against terrorism. That means for Palau to be a destination, the republic needs mechanics and pilots, which the academy could provide.

"This really opens up the horizon," Remengesau said.

October 17, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com


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