Irish firm wins major contract to train Turkish Airlines pilots
AN IRISH flight training school has clinched a prestigious contract with one of the world's leading airlines.
Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) fought off international competition for the contract with Turkish Airlines.
The Cork-based firm will now train pilots for the Star Alliance member.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney hailed the deal as great news for the Irish aviation sector and for job creation. He pointed out that an immediate result of the new contract is that AFTA will recruit 10 skilled pilot instructors with the potential for future job creation.
"The academy has built up an international reputation in recent years as providers of highly qualified and trained pilots for a range of global airlines," he said.
"The addition of Turkish Airlines to the list of its airline customers is a very significant milestone for AFTA and for Ireland." Under the cadet pilot training programme, AFTA will now train 20 pilots for Turkish Airlines.
AFTA already has 150 pilots in its 17-month programme.
The Turkish carrier has a fleet of 299 aircraft and operates one of the world's top route networks.
AFTA is confident that the deal will lead to further contracts within the international aviation industry. Turkish Airlines officials Captain Cem Firat, and Ireland manager Murat Balandi, said they were delighted with the decision.
"Turkish Airlines will celebrate ten years in Ireland in 2016, and we are delighted that an Irish company has been chosen to train 20 of our new cadet pilots this year," Mr Balandi said.
A group of Turkish pilot cadets are already in training in Cork as part of the deal.