Syrian newcomers hope business takes off after starting Calgary flight simulator centre Social Sharing

September 23, 2019

By CBC News |

When a job didn’t materialize, Tammam Altajar decided to wing it

Tammam Altajar came to Calgary from Syria two years ago and struggled to find work before setting up a state-of-the-art flight simulator in the city’s northeast.

It’s been a turbulent two years for Syrian newcomer Tammam Altajar, but he’s hoping a new aviation-focused business in northeast Calgary will take off, along with his new life in Canada.

The Syrian arrived here through a skilled worker program in September 2017, hoping to continue a long career in oil and gas. He had worked in the Middle East as a senior drilling engineer for 17 years.

But the Alberta economy was still in the dumps and jobs were scarce.

Realizing the chance of a job in his field was slim to none, Altajar decided to take a big risk.

“After three months of trying to find a job, I realized it was not going to get any better,” said Altajar.

“I didn’t want to sit there idle hoping oil and gas would get better, especially being a newcomer with no Canadian experience,” he said.

So he kept busy, signing up for a year-long self employment program through the former provincial government with the aim of becoming an entrepreneur and starting his own business around his childhood passion: airplanes and flight.

“I was looking for ideas and I wanted to do something unique, something niche, something I like, and flight simulation was my passion since I was a kid, it was my hobby,” said Altajar.

Then came market research, business plans, regulations and approvals and the sourcing of state-of-the-art flight simulator equipment from Europe and teaming up with fellow Syrian Saleh Allbwani, an architect by trade.

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