TRAINEE airline staff are hitting new heights after officially opened its new £9.5 million training centre in Bradford. has landed at the Euroway Industrial Estate in a new state-of-the-art facility where apprentice pilots and cabin crews get trained for life in the air.

The training hub in Roydsdale Way, which opened its doors yesterday, is the only one of its kind in northern England.

It features three flight simulators so apprentice pilots experience can experience B737-300, B737-800 and B757-200 aircrafts.

The 32,232 sq ft site will also include cabin crew trainer units, a high-tech computer-based training room for pilots and fully equipped classrooms and briefing rooms, for use by the firm's new recruits and existing staff.

It gives the Yorkshire-based company a one-stop training hub for its staff, who previously had to travel to Gatwick and Luton for parts of their training.

Ian Doubtfire, managing director, said: "It's unique. This is undoubtedly a very exciting day for us and we are very proud to be opening such a unique facility in our home region.

"It is a fantastic facility which will make a significant impact on the way we train and develop our staff.

"We are the only airline to have any such centre in the north of England.

The airline business is expanding next year and we are are training more staff. "

"Classroom and practical training will take place here.

"It allows us to deliver the very best bespoke training programmes to ensure that both our pilots and cabin crew provide the safe and friendly flight experience our customers have come to expect.

"The whole unit has been developed to meet the needs of

"Our 24 apprentice pilots all work throughout the business for a year before they go to their flight training."

Cabin crew will be given a host of practical situations to go through as part of their apprenticeship, including fire and smoke scenarios. They will complete an intensive four-week training course at the centre.

There are three different types of training given to the firm's apprentice pilots, which last between two weeks and four months, depending on each individual's level of experience.

The site has also led the firm to employ 11 people, including eight engineers and a simulator technical manager.

The centre is also a further boost for the district's economy, as chose the site for its transport links to further sites around northern England.

Mr Doubtfire said: "We chose Bradford because of its geographical location. We have a lot of cabin crew and pilots who come from Manchester, Leeds, the East Midlands and Blackpool.

Adam Howarth, pilot apprentice, said: "It's brilliant, it's an excellent opportunity. When you are in the flight simulators, you feel like it's the real thing.

"It's a lovely environment to train in. It's as real as you can get."

Tom Lewis, who will train the new cabin crew recruits, added "We have it all here, including mock-up cabins. It enables students to see it for real, rather than me explaining it."

Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford, Roger L'Amie, who attended the training centre's opening, said: "This is further good news for Bradford.

"'s decision to base its training centre here reinforces how committed it is to Yorkshire, bringing even more growth and investment to the region and further developing our talented local workforce.

"We are thrilled to have been able to support the airline in its ambition to create such a top class training facility."