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Boeing to Open Pilot Training School at Skolkovo

Boeing will start training pilots in a multimillion flight school at the Skolkovo technological hub, a Transport Ministry official told Vedomosti Tuesday.

A deal is set to be signed at the end of June that will see the American aircraft manufacturer deliver specialized equipment worth millions of dollars, a representative of Skolkovo foundation said.

The school will join the cosmic cluster in Skolkovo's technopark, where pilots will be given a chance to enhance their qualifications. Their skills will be tested using flight simulators and they will have to provide biomedical information and undergo endurance tests.

Transport Minister Maxim Skolkov said that there is currently a deficit of pilots in Russian airlines. He estimated that another 1,200 are needed to compensate for the shortfall, but the current law bars carriers from hiring foreigners. However, an amendment to the Air Code would allow Russia to attract 200 foreign pilots each year over a five year period, the report said.

Pay at Russia's major fliers, where captains earn on average $14,000 a month, is currently higher than with European competitors, the report said.

Aeroflot said that the proposition is "dubious," because major Russian carriers all have their own requirements for training pilots, and airlines are concerned that they will have to complete the training of any graduates from the new school.

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