Wings Magazine

NAV CANADA steps up to train students from Saudi Arabia

Oct. 10, 2013, Ottawa - Thirty students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are in Canada training to become Air Traffic Controllers as part of an agreement between NAV CANADA and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

October 10, 2013  By Carey Fredericks

The students will complete all their required training at the NAV CENTRE, the world-class training and conferencing facility in Cornwall, Ontario, owned and operated by NAV CANADA. Training will last for about two academic years, at which time the students will seek qualification as controllers at air traffic control (ATC) facilities in their home country.

Said Andy Campbell, NAV CANADA Vice President, Customer and Commercial Services: “We very much appreciate the opportunity to work with the Saudi Arabia civil aviation authority on this exciting educational opportunity, and we are determined to give this enthusiastic group of students an exceptional learning experience.”

Classes started at the NAV CENTRE in late August. Coursework is now focused on English language instruction specifically designed to teach the students ICAO-standard proficiency in Aviation English, and in ATC phraseology.

Following language training, the students will begin a comprehensive study of all aspects of VFR and IFR air traffic control. In this phase, much of their training will be conducted on the NAV CENTRE’s advanced simulators, updated to accurately replicate Saudi Arabian airspace.


Students will learn aerodrome control, non-radar and radar approach control, air traffic management, and all aspects of Air Navigation System (ANS) communications, navigation and surveillance. Also planned are two, five-day familiarization tours of NAV CANADA facilities to provide an understanding of day-to-day operations.     

Said Duane Clefstad, Director, International Training at NAV CANADA: “We are pleased to be working with our Saudi Arabian counterparts. They value our ability to custom-build courses, which sets us apart from a lot of ATC training schools. While we tailor our courses to meet the requirements of Saudi Arabia or any other jurisdiction, we do so in ways that meet ICAO standards. And our courses can start at any time during the year, on a timetable that suits the customer.”


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