Aspiring pilots descended on the Professional Flight Training Exhibition on 14 March, held at the stunning venue of The Convention Centre, Dublin, to find out more about a pilot career.
Many of the attendees were dreaming of a career with Ireland’s flagship carrier, Aer Lingus, and pilots and representatives from the airline were on hand all day to answer questions. Aer Lingus’ Captain Hans Munnelly presented to packed seminar room, explaining that approximately 18 Aer Lingus cadet places will become available in early 2016 and another 18 in early 2017. Munnelly also provided updates on the airline’s fleet expansion plans, with Aer Lingus likely to acquire a ninth Airbus A330 in Summer 2016 and for the fleet to have nine A350s and possibly six A321 NEO LR to join Air Lingus fleet in 2018-19. He ended with a slide displaying a picture of CEO of IAG, Willie Walsh, citing the work Walsh has done to bring back cadet programmes, and also what his business could mean for the future growth of long-haul; in Munnelly’s words, “Everything I’ve just said could change.”
For the first time in its history, the show also welcomed the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC). Gerry Mongey, Trade Commissioner for Canada, attended the Exhibition along with the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers (pictured centre). She explained, “We’re here to show support; the Ambassador and I came along to show that there’s support and enthusiasm there, as the organisation moves forward towards new business.” Wayne Gouveia, Vice President Commercial General Aviation of ATAC, explained, “We attended the exhibition to explore all opportunities and find out more about the market for offering training towards an EASA ATPL in Canada. We want people attending to know that it’s a beautiful place to come and learn to fly, offering plenty of opportunities for the right candidates.” Gouveia added, “As with the rest of the world, there’s a disparity of female pilots; women make up about 5% of pilots in Canada, so we’re looking to work towards making that right too.”
In one of the other seminar slots, SFO Brendan Tierney presented on the pros and cons of adding a degree to your ATPL. He discussed differences between aviation and non-aviation focused degrees, and explained that a degree will give you greater flexibility, should you lose your licence or medical, along the way. Dublin City University (DCU) also attended on the day and were able to provide advice on combining ATPL training with a university degree. Margie Burns, MD of Aviation Selection Consultants, also presented, providing important advice on the skillset of future pilots, and the importance of self-assessment before embarking on, and particularly, paying for any type of flight training. She gave tips on how to set goals, as well as information on how airlines go about measuring skills and aptitude of potential pilots.
Final presenter of the day, Kieran O’Connor from National Flight Centre also favoured the degree route, explaining, “Before you do anything, before you consider any sort of flight training programme, go to university.” During his unique presentation, he also advised, “If any flight training school asks for the full amount of funds at the very beginning of your training, run away as fast as your little legs will carry you.” While his talk provided plenty of the realities of the cost of pilot training, he did end by saying, “A pilot career truly does give you the best seat in the house.”
The next Professional Flight Training Exhibition will take place on 25 April 2015 at the Sofitel Hotel, T5 London Heathrow. You can buy tickets at www.pilottrainingexhibition.com/london/tickets/