Irish flight school signs contract with Turkish Airlines
Cork school will train airline’s cadet pilots as part of global growth plans
Atlantic Flight Training Academy based at Cork Airport has begun training its first class of 20 cadets for Turkish Airlines. which currently has a fleet of more than 500 aircraft and flies to more countries than any other airline with flights to some 87 countries. (Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent
An Irish flight training school has received a major boost with the news that it has secured a contract with the world’s third largest airline, Turkish Airlines to train its cadet pilots as it plans to grow its business worldwide.
Atlantic Flight Training Academy based at Cork Airport has begun training its first class of 20 cadets for Turkish Airlines. which currently has a fleet of more than 500 aircraft and flies to more countries than any other airline with flights to some 87 countries.
Mark Casey, chief executive, Atlantic Flight Training Academy, said the contract with Turkish Airlines was a particularly prestigious one to secure as Turkish Airlines plans to be the world’s largest airline by 2021 when it celebrates the centenary of modern Turkey being founded.
“We are delighted that our commitment to advanced cadet training and safety, has been recognised by Turkish Airlines through signing this commercial agreement, and we look forward to helping these cadets progress and build their future careers with Turkish Airlines.
Mr Casey said that Turkish Airlines requires some 200 pilots annually so those currently studying at AFTA account for 10pc of its requirement but he hoped that the Turkish carrier would sponsor a second class at AFTA commencing in late spring or early summer 2016.
The quality of the training at AFTA plus the sometimes challenging conditions at Cork Airport ensure those cadets who qualify from the Cork course are well equipped to deal with whatever contingencies arise while flying with leading carriers such as Turkish Airlines.
Mr Casey was congratulated on securing the Turkish Airlines contract, believed to be worth around €2 million annually, by Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney who noted AFTA also provided training for cadet pilots sponsored by Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan.
“Turkish Airlines have been operating flights from Dublin for a number of years and have become one of the world’s leading airlines. I am delighted that they have chosen the Atlantic Flight Training Academy to be one of their training providers,” he said.
“ The academy has built up an international reputation in recent years as providers of highly qualified and trained pilots for a range of global airlines. The addition of Turkish Airlines to the list of its customers is a very significant milestone for the Academy, and for Ireland.”
Murat Balandi, general manager, Turkish Airlines Ireland said the company will celebrate ten years of operations in Ireland next year and the company was delighted that an Irish flight training school has been chose to train
20 of its new cadet pilots.
“Our pilots are trained to the highest standards available in the industry for our fleet of 299 passenger and cargo aircraft which fly to 280 destinations worldwide with 232 international and 48 domestic.
“It is really beneficial for us to see the cadets in their training ground at AFTA in Cork and we look forward to see them in the air as Turkish Airlines pilots over the years to come,” said Mr Balandi, adding Turkish Airlines was also exploring developing new routes into Ireland.