Serco's International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), one of the world's leading fire training centres, has welcomed its first-ever group of French airport firefighters after gaining approval from the French civil aviation authority, the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC), to carry out refresher training.
The firefighters from Bordeaux spent four days updating their theoretical knowledge and practical skills at the centre, which is based at Durham Tees Valley airport in the north east of England.
All airport fire crews must complete refresher training every three years and IFTC is well placed to provide this service with its unique blend of training rigs, expert tuition, a state-of-the-art virtual reality suite and onsite accommodation.
Serco also recently recruited a team of five French aviation fire specialists to ensure the new customers' needs are well-served and understood, and last year invested £850,000 in two new Sides S3X fire appliances.
IFTC currently trains 10,000 delegates from 80 different countries each year but this is the first time it has worked with French airport firefighters. It represents a significant development for the centre which plans to further increase export sales in Europe during 2014 and beyond.
Serco's Gary Watson, Business Operations Manager for the IFTC, said: "The IFTC is number one in the UK and has enjoyed steady growth in international sales over the past five years. By further investing in our equipment and people, we are delighted to be able to extend our offer to French airports and offer a fresh choice in accredited aviation fire training. We've already had strong commitments from a number of customers in France and we look forward to welcoming them in increasing numbers throughout 2014."