Student aircraft engineers are to learn their craft on a airliner based in a new £1.5m hangar at the University of Glamorgan.
The Aerospace Centre on the Treforest campus was officially opened on Friday by Wales' Education and Skills Minister Leighton Andrews.
He described it as a "great example" of industry and education working together.
The university is in partnership with GE Aviation Wales at nearby Nantgarw.
The aerospace facility includes a flight simulator, wind tunnel and engine.
The aircraft, a full-size JetStream 31, has been delivered from the Netherlands.
The university is currently undergoing a £130m investment in new teaching and student facilities.
GE Aviation Wales managing director Adrian Button said: "Aerospace engineering is a key sector for both Wales and the UK economy, with major employers such as GE demanding the very highest level of skill and training.
"As aerospace companies we work with universities to equip our workforce and their graduates with the experience and capabilities they need in this most high-tech of environments," said Mr Button, himself a graduate at the university.
Aircraft maintenance degree course requires students to take workshop training on specific aircraft.
Practical experience with a real commercial aircraft is a requirement of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) if students are to qualify as licensed aircraft maintenance engineers.
The University of Glamorgan, rated in May 2011 as the Guardian's top Welsh "new" university.