Pilot school gets off to flying start
COMMERCIAL pilots trained in Ireland will now be qualified to fly for airlines all over Europe - which are forecast to need 17,000 pilots by 2010.
A new aviation college to train pilots for work with commercial airlines in Europe was officially opened by Environment Minister Martin Cullen at Waterford airport last night.
Up to now, Irish people who wanted to train as commercial pilots had to go abroad to do so.
The new college - set up by aviation experts Mike Edgeworth and Tony Kember, a former chief flight examiner with the UK Civil Aviation Authority - has been approved by the Irish Aviation Authority.
The first class of nine trainee pilots has already taken the first steps towards a pilot's licence.
But the flying school has also tapped into the very high level of demand for training from foreign students.
There are also plans to develop aircraft maintenance, hangar space, and other related areas at the airport.
The last six months hasbeen a testing time for Waterford airport, which had no scheduled services and an uncertain future.
However, Aer Aran is now operating services from the airport and the flying school will also help to secure its future.