Wednesday 16 January 2019

Ryanair 'landmark deal' with Irish flight training academy to create 100 new jobs

Planes at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)
Planes at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)

Ralph Riegel

Ryanair moved to address their future pilot needs thanks to a landmark deal with an Irish flight training academy which will create 100 new jobs and see 450 pilots trained in Ireland over the next five years.

Ireland is fast emerging as one of the leading flight training centres for both budget and medium-haul airlines across Europe and the Middle East.

Ryanair has now teamed up with the Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) in Cork to guarantee employment for cadets who sign up to a training programme and successfully earn their 'wings'.

The agreement is set to create up to 50 new AFTA jobs - and will see 450 pilots trained for Ryanair by 2023, 50 starting this year.

The deal has been hailed as a major boost for both AFTA and Cork Airport where the flight training academy up is based.

AFTA founder and Boeing 737 pilot, Mark Casey, said it was a landmark deal.

"We started the business in 1995 with one aircraft and we have grown steadily over the last 34 years," he said.

"This deal with Ryanair is transformational for us."

"Training 450 pilots over the next five years gives us a steady pipeline of work for our business."

"We currently employ about 50 staff members from pilots, instructors, administration staff, engineering and IT support."

"What this means is a 50pc expansion to our operation - we have worked consistently with Ryanair over the past 23 years and have grown steadily with them."

"They have always been hugely supportive of graduates from Irish flight schools like AFTA."

Under the deal, cadets who pass their flight exams are guaranteed employment with the budget airline after graduation.

They will thus be given an immediate chance to help repay their aviation tutelage.

Demand for pilots across the world has soared due to the growth in the aviation industry and the advent of numerous expansionary long-haul and budget airlines.

Ryanair's Kenny Jacobs said the deal was important for both the airline and AFTA.

"We are very pleased to announce this training partnership with AFTA which has an impressive record in training top class pilots to the very highest standards," he said.

The need for a steady influx of pilots was underlined by the airline confirming a 20pc expansion of their Cork operations for 2019 with new routes unveiled to Luton, Poznan, Malta and Budapest.

Cork Airport managing director Niall McCarthy said Ryanair passenger numbers at the airport will surge from 900,000 to more than 1.1 million.

"We have growth of around 4pc this year and we are on course to do even better next year," he said.

Founded in 1985, Ryanair is now Europe's largest airline by the number of scheduled passengers flown.

The airline flies to more than 220 destinations in 37 countries and operates a fleet of almost 450 Boeing aircraft.

It is the world's largest operator of the Boeing 737 700/800 series with its aircraft commonality a key strategic asset in terms of pilot and aircrew training.

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