No compensation for trainee pilots

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 01:00

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has ruled out any financial compensation for trainee pilots left without classes due a dispute involving a Waterford-based flight school.

The Minister and the chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Eamon Brennan, met with representatives of the pilots today. Some 80 students had been training with the Florida Institute of Technology, which had a contract with the Pilot Training College Waterford.

However, due to a financial dispute between the two organisations, the Florida centre stopped their training and most of the Irish trainees have now returned to Ireland.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Varadkar said he had "huge sympathy for the situation in which the trainees and their families find themselves" but he ruled out any financial compensation. Some had paid up to €84,000 for the training.

The trainee pilots have claimed the Government has a responsibility to them as the Pilot Training College was approved by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), a State agency.

"Regrettably I had to inform the group once again that neither the Government, nor the IAA, would be able to compensate them for the monies lost and have no liability in this regard," Mr Varadkar said.

The Minister said the IAA was in the process of organising one-on-one meetings with the students to advise them on their career options and said it would also engage with the examiner appointed to PTCW to find out why the company ran into financial difficulty.

The IAA will also seek to discover what happened to the fees handed over by trainees.