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Positivity from Flybe and caution from BALPA at the Professional Flight Training Exhibition

_DSC0873The first London Professional Flight Training Exhibition of 2014 took place on Saturday 12 April at the Sofitel Hotel, T5, London Heathrow.

The successful event brought together a host of Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) and airlines to give visitors the best possible advice on becoming a pilot. Seminar speakers included SFO Helen McNamara from British Airways, aviation entrepreneur Bruce Dickinson and a presentation from the Aviation Skills Partnership. ASP announced three new partners in its pilot degree/apprenticeship framework, with new schemes at Helicentre Aviation, Tayside Aviation and Take Flight Aviation. Read more here.

Flybe’s Captain Ian Baston also presented on the day, and had some positive news from Flybe, which as recently as February this year, was announcing redundancies and a reduction in fleet and base size. Over 200 pilots have left Flybe in the last 14 months. Baston explained, “That’s just how fast this industry moves. We were caught on the hoof at the end of 2013, and had no choice but to restructure, to build confidence in the business. 200 pilots took voluntary redundancy and we reduced our entire workforce significantly; these restructuring moves generated cash and confidence from the city. But we have turned a corner and have now shown we can move forward as a company. Pilot recruitment at Flybe will be increasing from now on.”

These initial recruitment needs will be filled by a number of Flybe’s existing part-sponsored schemes in partnership with CTC, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy and FTEJerez. The current programme with CTC is open until 30 April, more can be found here. The programmes with FTEJerez and CAE Oxford Aviation Academy will follow in a couple of months’ time. Flybe is also shortly to announce the next admissions to an MPL with FTE JErez. Baston also added that outside the jobs held for pilots who will graduate from existing Flybe schemes, there is a need for around 50 pilots this year. 15 or so of these jobs will be filled by pilots currently in Flybe’s holding pool, so Baston anticipates looking for around 35 more pilots later on in the year.

BALPA (British Airline Pilots’ Association) also attended the event and delivered a clear message to future pilots: don’t let dreams become your master. In his seminar, Jim McAuslan, BALPA’s General Secretary, explained, “The message I have presented to aspiring pilots is: don’t let dreams become your master. You will need resilience, dedication and a willingness to move between continents to find work. In the cold light of day, look beyond the apparent glamour and hype and only commit to the profession with your eyes open.”

Elsewhere at the show, ProPilot has developed what it describes as an ‘upgrade’ for its current ATPL course. The KSA (Knowledge, Skills, Attitude) upgrade has been developed as a result of statistics from a number of airlines that suggest that pilots aren’t able to cut it in terms of knowledge and how to apply it in the full context of flying an airliner. The training aims to bring all the modules together in one cohesive package, and is already being described as a ‘game-changer’. ProPilot’s CTKI Jaqui Suren explains more here.

Other headlines included the announcement of easyJet’s MPL degree in partnership with CTC Wings and Middlesex University, more here.

The next UK exhibition will take place in Leeds on 12 July, and the next London exhibition will be held in November 2014. Keep an eye on exhibitions.seager.aero for future dates and information.