Dear aviation enthusiasts and professionals,

Welcome to our web page. We at SAA Aeronautical Academy have devoted our entire careers in offering and developing high standard professional pilot training.

The combined knowledge and experience of our team is simply amazing. Airbus 330/350 Instructors, Airbus A320 Instructors, Airline Captains, highly skilled and Experienced Flight Instructors, Instrument Rating Instructors, active Military pilots, University professors and other aviation and naval experts are forming a formidable team.

Thousands of teaching and flight hours, millions of miles flown worldwide.

SAA Aeronautical Academy team will take you from Zero experience all the way to the cockpit of a commercial jet in the fastest time possible.

SAA Aeronautical academy is owned and run by experienced airline instructors and industry professionals.

We know what will accelerate your career and what steps to take to get results. SAA stands for high standard, time efficient and cost-efficient flight training.

Being actively involved in day to day training needs of the airline industry gives us an in-depth view of present and future requirements, latest trends and standards in Airline operations and Flight training. With this we can deliver job placement on big commercial jets that most other schools are just promising.

Choose SAA Aeronautical Academy for your Professional, Advanced, UPRT or Airbus type related training.

SAA Aeronautical Academy – Passion for Knowledge™

Captain Blaz Berdnik, TRE

Head of Training

SAA Aeronautical Academy

pilot training program

Management Presentation

SAA, Aeronautical Academy Management Structure

President and CEO

Captain Blaz Berdnik

With 22 years of experience in the field of aviation, Captain Berdnik is an active Airline Captain, Airbus Instructor and, EASA Pilot Examiner. During his 22 years of experience he has accumulated over 12.000 hours in Commercial Air transportation, most of the hours as an Airbus Airline Instructor of ab-initio and low time pilots. His flight experience spans over a range of aircraft from King Airs to Airbus commercial airliners.

Captain Berdnik has significant operational experience in Europe, Africa, and Asia and holds or has held Airline Management positions as Director of Flight Operations, Training Director, Head of training of EASA Approved Training Organizations, Director of Flight Operation Standards and Airline Certified Auditor. He has over 10 years of experience as CEO and Head Of Training of an EASA Approved Training Organization.

Vice President Business Development

Mr. Aleksander Vozel, MSc

Mr. Aleksander Vozel is an experienced risk manager and financial manager having extensive experience across a variety of industries. He has a background of over 20+ years in banking, serving as Vice President and Board member, CRO, and CFO of the second largest bank in Slovenia.

In addition, he has worked in and with other financial companies as well as companies in other industries. During the last financial crises, he was responsible for restructuring several large companies and led the restructuring and merging of two banks.

Subsequently, he has been an independent Senior consultant with his own Consulting company and is also serving as a Senior Adviser at Deloitte EMEA. He widely practices in the areas of business development, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and operations and management.

He was acting internationally as a supervisory board member in banks and companies in New York, Frankfurt, Croatia, Kosovo, and Serbia. Aleksander is an MBA and MSc graduate of a joint program of the University of Ljubljana School of Economics and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a former Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Ljubljana School of Economics and senior lecturer for Bank Association of Slovenia.

Vice President of Technical and Simulation

Mr. John R. Smith

An extremely experienced Flight Simulation and Training professional with extensive knowledge and skills in management and staff leadership with over 49 years’ experience in the flight simulation and training industry gained across airline, manufacturing, and training center operations worldwide.

Mr. John R Smith dedicated his whole career to pilot training and is one of the most experienced managers in this field worldwide. AATC Bangkok has grown to 15 FSTDs under his exceptional leadership.

His previous experience is with the following companies: Redifon/ Rediffusion/ Hughes/ Thomson/ Thales – various global roles within Customer Services and Program Management Group.

He made a significant impact in Asia as AATC Bangkok General manager of 19 years where he grew the business from a single FFS operation to multiple aircraft types, 15 EASA qualified FSTD, and EASA ATO operation.

Mr. John Smith is an FSEMC 2017 Roger Goldberg Award recipient.

Vice President of Operations

Captain Jaro Koritnik

Captain Jaro Koritnik is an aviation professional with more than 10 years of experience in training and safety.

His experience in training spans from being a flight instructor on a single-engine airplane to A320 Type Rating Instructor.

During this time he held various management roles such as Chief Ground Instructor, Safety Manager, Chief Theoretical Knowledge Instructor, Head of Training Deputy and more.

Captain Jaro Koritnik is a specialist in EASA certification processes for obtaining initial approval for EASA approved Training Organization, Airline Operating Certificates, and other types of certificates required in the airline industry.

His professional pilot experience and flying spans almost all continents, from Europe to the Middle East and the Far East.

Captain Koritnik is currently also flying as an Airbus Captain/Instructor at a major Airbus operator.

Vice President Compliance

Mr. Matej Balazic MSc

Mr Matej Balazic has been actively working in the field of aviation, space industry, and advanced manufacturing for more than 15 years.

As a Compliance Monitoring Manager, Safety Manager, Quality Manager, member of the Airline Management Group, and Lecturer, he has been involved with various Airlines and Flight Schools in Europe.

Parallelly he is involved in close cooperation with Slovenian and Austrian Civil Aviation Authorities in order to improve internal quality processes and effectively implement new EASA regulations into aviation organization.

He holds a Commercial pilot license and is rated to fly different types of aircraft. Besides aviation, Matej Balazic is a leading expert in Advanced Manufacturing/Additive Manufacturing for metals.

His Company Balmar d.o.o. (Balmar.si) is the first Company in Slovenia to have active business cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). Its cooperation with ESA involves different space projects and exchange of expert employees.

Matej Balazic has received his scientific master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (Production Engineering) from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana.

During his academic career, he published several Original Scientific Articles, review articles and short scientific articles as well as published scientific and professional conference contributions, independent scientific component parts, or chapters in a monograph and several final research reports.

Vice President Training Development

Mrs. Mojca Berdnik

With extensive experience in Training Organization management, Mrs. Mojca Berdnik specializes in aviation-related training program development for classroom-based and/or on-line training applications.

With her connection and association with the academic sphere, she provides a valuable link between SAA practical training applications and the latest academic achievements and research in this field.

Her academic knowledge and expertise in the field of educational innovations and latest training technologies provide valuable development and input to SAA training platforms and innovation in the field of modern aviation online education.

SAA Employment Opportunities

EASA Flight and Ground Instructors Wanted!

SAA is pleased to announce that due to increased operational and training requirements we are recruiting for several open positions of EASA Flight Instructor training candidates.

Candidates that meet the following requirements are invited to participate in the training process for the issue of initial FI(A) rating, followed by Flight instructor experience under supervision, as required by EASA. After this period successful candidates will have the possibility to join the SAA Flight Instructor team full time.

FI(A) Trainee Application minimum requirements:

  • IR(SE) rating
  • Min 200 hours of Flight Time
  • English ICAO level 4
  • Medical class 1
  • Right to live and work in the EU

FI(A) Training in accordance with EASA syllabus will be performed at our beautiful Mediterranean home base surroundings at Portoroz, Slovenia on our PA-38 and PA28R aircraft and by a team of highly experienced airline and professional pilot instructors.

The price of the course is 7.490,00 EUR.

Applications for FI(A) course will be accepted until 05.06.2020. The course starting date will be announced immediately after the initial selection is completed.

Please send your license, medical and on-page CV (.pdf form) to SAA Chief Flight Instructor Mr.Luka Gruden (luka.gruden@saa-aero.com).

Our Partners