Airways New Zealand is joining forces with Emirates to deliver air traffic control training for up to 200 students a year at a purpose-built training hub in the Middle East.
The state-owned air navigation services provider runs air traffic control training programmes from its Christchurch and Palmerston North training facilities.
The deal with Emirates Aviation College means it will provide the training at a new campus in Dubai over the next five years.
Airways chief executive Ed Sims said the deal was significant because it could lead to a joint venture air traffic control training academy with Emirates.
"What we're trying to build are joint venture, even merged, businesses as opposed to perhaps traditional customer supply businesses," Mr Sims said.
"So I think this is indicative of a direction we're taking, where we're actually trying to build value on both sides of the fence rather than a more traditional customer-supplier relationship.
"We believe that we've won Emirates trust in us on the back of many, many years of operating in countries like Saudi Arabia, like Kuwait, so it's not the first time that we've operated successfully in the Middle East but certainly it's the first time that Emirates have come to us with such a significant contract."
It was hard to put a number on what that contract would be worth to Airways but "it will be certainly a number beginning with a million", and what value that built to was difficult to say, he said.
The training was accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which meant graduates would be able to obtain ratings at airports worldwide.