April 11, 2014
By Ian J. Twombly
Continental Motor’s Zulu Flight Training is heading abroad. The unique training center, which features Redbird full-motion simulators in a retail setting away from the airport, said recently that it is expanding to Europe.
Zulu is taking a slightly different angle in Europe. Instead of a fully integrated training program using company-owned simulators and company instructors, Zulu is offering its business model to franchisees, who will set up their facilities in city centers and then offer it to other training organizations to use with their students. In this way Zulu said it isn’t competing with aero clubs and training organizations, but rather offering an opportunity to “build a business partnership with Zulu Flight Training centers that is risk free and beneficial to all parties.”
Zulu was originally conceived as a way to increase the training capacity in China, where access to airports is limited. The company’s original location near Continental’s headquarters in Mobile, Ala., has been quite successful. General Manager Gloria Liu quotes a 96-percent retention rate, profitability fewer than two years after opening, and FAA FITS syllabus approval. There’s also been heavy interest from potential partners in the United States.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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