Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2013

Bonaire aviation mechanic school to move

Bonaire airportKRALENDIJK, Bonaire --The Aviation Maintenance Technician School Bonaire (AMTSB) is urgently seeking a new location. AMTSB prefers a hangar with facilities to give classes and perform aircraft maintenance. The school even thinks it can get a mortgage of one million euro for this.

The current building on the premises of “Zr. Maria Höppner Stichting” was sold recently and is being rebuilt into a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics.  The foundation AMFEMA (“Atkeri i Manehá Fondonan di Estudio pa Mekániko di Avion”) is assisting the school with its search for a suitable location. This foundation was established to raise and manage funds for the study of aviation maintenance technician.

AMTSB, an initiative of Jacinto “Boeboei” Frans on January 14, 2008, started with 12 day and eight evening students. The school currently has 15 students of whom eight are in the completion phase of the programme. Of the 13 students who so far finished their training, eight already have a job at local airlines Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) and Tiara Air, while three students currently hold trainee post. The school serves as a model for education that links up with the needs on the labor market and offers local youngsters opportunities.

It is a private school with eight instructors that manages on its own financially. Although AMTSB operates without government subsidy its students can apply for a study grant.  The school and the Comprehensive Secondary School Bonaire SGB are currently discussing the possibility of collaboration, which is not an easy task. The training lasts two-anda-half years and costs almost US $16,000.

This is a high threshold for local students, but can hopefully be reduced once the cooperation is a fact. The students come from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and St. Maarten.  In the long run, the school also wishes to attract students from the rest of the Caribbean and even from South America. All students from outside the island can live on the campus that consists of 12 rooms and is located in the same building where the classes are held, which is also more economical.

Students only need to pay for meals, electricity and water; moreover, there are no problems with transportation to school. Applicants are submitted to a test before enrolment and have to be older than 17 years old. The students’  education includes a six-month trainee post and 1,850 classes, which corresponds with requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

In June 2012, the Dutch Ministry of Education recognized the school as training of MBO-level 4. As a result, the school now complies with the license of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

With this recognition, students completing their training at the school can seek opportunities anywhere in Europe and even complete their study at HBO level there because the exams of AMTSB now meet the EASA-requirements. As Bonaire has closer bonds with Europe, the school does not necessarily focus on the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, although it does have an agreement with the FAA school in Puerto Rico for future developments.

AMFEMA promotes the interest in students following an aviation maintenance technician training on Bonaire. On the board are Peter Winterwerp (Chairman), Cassandra Nicolaas (Treasurer), Destry Frans (Secretary) and regular members Xiomara Frans, Ronald Coffy, Ellen Ignacio and Elfrid Thomas.

Anyone who can help AMTSB with a building is requested to contact the chairman via telephone number 787-0358 or e-mail amfemabonaire@hotmail.com

Source: Dutch Caribbean Business

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