Published on December 16th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer


AFTA Opens New Aircraft Maintenance Hangar At Waterford

Atlantic Flight Training Academy has officially opened its new IAA approved, Aircraft Maintenance Hangar this week at its second training base, located at Waterford Airport.

AFTA has trained 2,300 graduates since 1995 who are employed with the world’s leading airlines including, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, easyJet, British Airways, Air Astana, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific and many more. The new maintenance Hangar will service AFTA’s aircraft training fleet, which includes the Diamond DA42NGs and Twin Stars, Piper PA34 Seneca and C172 fleet. AFTA operate 24 aircraft, 5 flight simulators and employs over 55 people. The addition of the enhanced maintenance facility will add extra high skill jobs for the Waterford region.

Speaking at Waterford Airport, Minister of State with responsibility for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins TD, said: “Atlantic Flight Training Academy’s new aircraft maintenance facility at Waterford airport is an investment in the future of Irish aviation outside of Dublin, providing the essential infrastructure to support the ever-growing pilot training academy and creating highly skilled jobs for aircraft engineers and pilot instructors. I am delighted that more cadet pilots in the South East and across Munster will now benefit from AFTA’s investment in this new aircraft maintenance facility.

“Making education and training available to people where they are, near to home so they don’t have to leave to learn or to get a job, is a key priority for me and my Department and I’m delighted to see that in action here today. I want to wish every success to the next generation of AFTA – trained airline pilots as they begin their careers here at Waterford Airport.”

Aidan Power, Waterford Airport Manager, said: “Atlantic Flight Training Academy has been utilising Waterford as a training airport for the past 24 years and in 2018 committed to a full-time operational base at the airport. During the last three years pilot training at Waterford has grown exponentially.

“It is excellent news that AFTA have decided to solidify their presence further at Waterford by investing in this new IAA Approved aircraft hangar. We look forward to seeing the base grow over the coming years, creating more jobs for the region and we wish AFTA and especially all the cadet’s training at Waterford every success in their airline careers.”

AFTA CEO, Mark Casey said: “We are delighted to officially open our new IAA approved Aircraft Maintenance Hangar here at Waterford airport, AFTA’s second Irish Pilot Training base. Waterford is a vital component of Ireland’s airport infrastructure which offers first class facilities and services to operators. Government support for our regional airport infrastructure is of utmost importance to aviation career development and the creation of highly skilled jobs which are decentralised from Dublin.”

Commenting on AFTA’s mission to play its part in helping to decarbonise aviation training, Captain Mark Casey, continued: “AFTA’s transition to a carbon neutral training academy by 2030 is an achievable ambition with continued government support for our regional airports.”

Speaking at AFTA’s new Aircraft Maintenance Hangar launch, Dr Rose Leahy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing and International Business at MTU, commented: “The commitment of Atlantic Flight Training Academy is an example of how businesses and universities working together can achieve great success in preparing students for rewarding careers in the aviation industry. The  AFTA/MTU partnership is an important development in the upskilling of existing aircrew and the newly launched full time honours degree for new students will provide a valuable career foundation for AFTA pilots.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Enda McDonnell said: “Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with the Atlantic Flight Training Academy over several years to support its international activities. The company is renowned within the industry for its progressive approaches to pilot training having developed highly successful pilot training partnerships with leading international airlines. It brings an innovative approach to pilot training through training in next generation flight simulator technology.

It is also driving future flows of pilots through its collaboration with Munster Technological University on its Bachelor of Science (Hons) Global Business and Pilot Studies programme. Now the company is making a significant investment in a new IAA approved aircraft hangar in Waterford.  By enhancing its aircraft maintenance facilities at Waterford airport it will generate welcome additional economic activities in a regional location.  AFTA is a company with a stellar international reputation in pilot training excellence. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to collaborating in the future as it strives to achieve its growth ambitions.”

Main photo above: (L-R) Aidan Power, General Manager, Waterford Airport, Mary Butler, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Pat Hayes, Commercial Director, Food Quest Ltd, Niall Collins, Minister of State with responsibility for Skills and Further Education, Dr Rose Leahy, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Marketing & International Business, MTU, Mark J Casey, CEO/Head of Training, Atlantic Flight Training Academy, Anne Fitzpatrick, Department Manager of Engineering, Paper, Print & Packaging, Enterprise Ireland, John Brierty, Senior Technologist, Enterprise Ireland, & Dervilla Flynn, Senior Development Advisor, Enterprise Ireland.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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