Stranded student pilots to get funds for flight home
THE IRISH Aviation Authority will fund the return-home costs of a number of the student pilots stranded in Florida in a dispute involving a Waterford-based flight school.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed last night the authority would fund the travel costs of the “self-financing” students who had an existing contract with the Pilot Training College and who wished to leave the US.
The school at the centre of the financial row has admitted some students will have to pay extra fees to complete their training.
Some 80 students, 34 of them Irish, paid up to € 86,000 to train with the college. They had been receiving training in the Florida Institute of Technology which had a contract with the Waterford school. However, due to a financial dispute, the Florida centre has stopped their training.
In a statement on Monday night, the Pilot Training College said it had secured training places for a number of students with an alternative training company, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, and these students would not incur additional costs. However, the records of a remaining 71 students were still being assessed and it would be the end of this week before the college would be able to tell them if they would be made an offer of training.
Mr Varadkar said that 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 students and their families. He has agreed with the IAA to fund the flights home.