THE JAMAICA Defence Force (JDF) has positioned itself to become the major hub for training in avionics maintenance and engineering in the region following the opening of a new training facility at JDF's Manley Air Wing Base located along Palisadoes road in Kingston.
The facility - The Department of Aircraft Technician Training (DATT) - is a joint initiative between the Canadian government and Jamaica.
The DATT is expected to open its doors today to its first cohort of eight students.
The ceremony on Saturday also witnessed the rebranding of the Jamaica Military Aviation School to the Caribbean Military Aviation School.
Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, in highlighting the possibilities that come with the opening of the facility, said it provides a marketing opportunity for Jamaica to offer pilot training to persons in other countries.
"The level of training required for military aviators did not exist in the Caribbean, and now that all the assets are available and the regulatory support of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority is being worked out, it is now possible to market the product to the Caribbean, Central and South America."
The minister also expressed high praises for the Canadian government which, he said, has been instrumental in the overall development of the country's military aviation infrastructure over the years.
"In an era when the financial commitments of the Government is needed for the success of this institution, and recognising that all your needs cannot be met at this time of fiscal constraints, we welcome and appreciate the partnership and bilateral relationships with the Canadian government, which has continued to aid and assist the growth and development of this facility," Guy said.
Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, described the opening of the department as a major step in providing quality training for his members.
"This is something that we used to do abroad, and now we have repatriated it to Jamaica, so, clearly, it augurs well for the development of Jamaica when we have the capacity in Jamaica to train people in such a high-tech industry," Anderson said.