Tayside Aviation ready for ‘exciting growth’ under new ownership

Tayside aviation

Chief Flight Instructor James Whitby, left, Business Development and Administration Manager Kate Watt, Managing Director Jim Watt. Photos: Perthshire Picture Agency

Tayside Aviation has been bought by entrepreneur and Falklands paratrooper veteran Tony Banks, with the aim of transforming it into ‘an international centre of excellence’. 

Tayside Aviation, a CAA Approved Training Organisation, provides training for pilots and aviation professionals, including private and commercial pilot licences and a BSc (Hons) Aviation Pilot Degree. Its partners include the University of Central Lancashire, the RAF and the International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI).

Tony Banks helms the newly-formed ARB Aviation, which has purchased the Dundee-based flight school. The deal will see Tayside Aviation aspire to become an international player in the aviation training sector as it embarks on what he described as an ‘exciting journey’ of growth. 

The 53-year-old business, run by the Watt family, will retain the same staff, however ARB intends to develop the school’s offering and attract aspiring pilots and aviation professionals from Dundee, the UK, and beyond, looking internationally.

A keen flight enthusiast himself and a Dundee local, Tony Banks said, “ARB Aviation is excited to be on this journey with Tayside Aviation which we intend to develop into an international player in the aviation training sector. We look forward to building on Tayside Aviation’s already stellar reputation, and working with the team to take the company to even greater heights.

“It is an important step not only for the UK’s aviation sector but also for Dundee, Scotland and the UK in general. This is the latest sign that Dundee is on the global map as a business player and an investment hub, and it also puts the city at the forefront of aviation excellence. 

“With Tayside Aviation, both local and international aspiring pilots and aviation professionals can enjoy first-class training in an unrivalled location.”

Jim Watt, Managing Director of Tayside Aviation, said, “We are delighted to announce our new ownership under ARB Aviation and to build upon the positive momentum Tayside Aviation has created over the last few decades. We plan to increase our intake of international students, as well as raise our profile in the U.K. and greater global aviation community.”

Tayside Aviation
Chief Flight Instructor James Whitby, pictured above with RAF Air Cadet Holly Plummer, added, “We also want to encourage more young people to look at careers in aviation and flying, particularly with our BSc Degree, which not only gives graduates an edge in aviation, but also provides a solid academic qualification and allows career flexibility. Our work with IASTI means we will develop close links with local high schools in Dundee and we are looking to build on that with other educational institutions.”

Discover more about Tayside Aviation here