Pilots in cancelled course to stage Dáil protest
TRAINEE PILOTS with the Waterford-based Pilot Training College whose course in the US was abruptly terminated recently are to picket the Dáil on Wednesday.
Following a meeting in Dublin at the weekend trainee pilots, their sponsors and families called on the Government to offer assistance to the “self-financing” trainees who had paid up to €86,000 to complete their course.
Some 80 students at the Florida Institute of Technology were left without classes when a financial dispute arose between the institute and the Waterford college.
A spokesman for the pilots said the Government had a responsibility to them as the Pilot Training College in Waterford had been approved by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), a State agency.
He said he understood 34 of the 80 students affected were Irish. They had been offered a one-way economy seat home from Florida, he said.
The trainees are hoping as many family members, sponsors and friends as possible will take part in the protest at the Dáil, which gets underway at noon.
Last week, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed the authority would fund travel costs of the “self-financing” students who had an existing contract with the Pilot Training College and who wished to leave the US.
Mr Varadkar said while he, the department and the IAA did not have any involvement in or responsibility for the contractual arrangements between the college and its students, he regretted the difficulties being experienced by the students and their families.