Government in discussion with AAA to extend flying school contract

AAA flights at Gan International Airport | Photo: AAA

Male’, Maldives –  The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation has informed the Parliamentary Committee on National Development and Heritage of their plans to extend the contract with the Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) – who run the flying school established in Addu City.

Addu International Airport (AIA) has an agreement with AAA, which is set to expire on the 31st of July 2021, to rent out airport owned buildings and facilities to AAA for Addu flying school operations.

However, The Transport Ministry has disclosed to the committee that there are plans to extend the existing contract to February of 2022, so as to allow numerous students to finish their courses.

AAA has until February 2022 to service an additional aircraft and allow 71 students currently enrolled at the academy to complete their studies, according to the Ministry.

They added that the only reason AAA’s licence for operation has not been voided by the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority is because the flying school in Addu is the only currently operating aviation school in Maldives, and an abrupt license cancellation would result in major losses for students.

A report released by the Parliamentary Committee on National Development and Heritage after their investigation of AAA has revealed the Transport Ministry has stated that the government must establish a new flying school in the country, or provide students at AAA with other opportunities.

And while these efforts are already underway, the best course of action right now is to work with AAA to bring various improvements and continue courses, according to the report.

Some of the issues highlighted in the report detailed that the academy had many systematic issues with managing the educational establishment, due to which, many Maldivian students were unable to complete their studies in the promised timeframe, resulting in unnecessary expenses and losses faced by the students and their parents.

It was also reported that the school discriminated against local students in the school, and that instances of intimidation, harassment and unfair conduct was also identified.

In addition to this, it was stated that the school failed to follow through with the agreement made, and the information provided to the students during enrollment, which has caused the students to suffer adverse psychological and financial affects, for which the AAA must be held accountable for.

It was also suggested that the state ensure that the students are compensated for the loss of time and finances, as well as the psychological distresses the school has inflicted upon the students. This was followed by a call onto the government to ensure that necessary action is taken against the AAA and all those who have acted in negligence with regards to the matter.

This report was compiled following the committee’s trip to the AAA, where the members met with the management and students of the school in order to look into the issues raised by the students, after months of complaints to numerous government organizations and officials.