Published on June 30th, 2022 | by Mark Dwyer


AFTA Celebrate 100 Recent Graduates Joining Ryanair

AFTA was the first flight school partner to work with Ryanair to train and recruit prospective cadets for a ‘Mentored Pilot Programme’, which provides a unique opportunity for aspiring pilots to be trained using Ryanair standard operating procedures (SOPs) and operational philosophy during their training. This programme gives the cadets unique access to endless career opportunities and a fast-tracked recruitment process with Ryanair on successful completion of flight training.

In the last 18 months, 100 AFTA Graduates have successfully passed the final assessment with Ryanair. These AFTA graduates are now based across Ryanair’s 89 Bases throughout Europe and North Africa. All AFTA graduates completed a world-class Type Rating and on-aircraft Base Training with Ryanair to qualify on the Boeing 737-800 and 737-8200 aircraft.

AFTA have a proven track record over the past 27 years having trained thousands of pilots who now enjoy key positions such as Training Captains, Fleet Captains, Captains and First Officers with some of the world’s leading airlines and has earned a reputation within the industry for training competent, confident, professional pilots. 

Supporting 100 graduates to secure employment in the past 18 months in the light of the pandemic demonstrates AFTA’s commitment to their graduates and Ryanair’s commitment and foresight to continue training the next generation of airline pilots to support the recovery of the industry. 

CEO and Head of Training at AFTA Captain Mark Casey commented: “I am delighted to see so many Ryanair Mentored Pilot graduates transitioning to the Boeing 737-800 and 8200 so seamlessly. The continuous support for the cadets from the Ryanair training department, the pilot recruitment team and management leadership throughout the programme has been tremendous. They have been assured and motivated throughout their training during the pandemic that they were correct to “stay the course” with their training. As the industry collapsed during 2020 and 2021, resilience and steadfastness were required to study and focus on the end goal of qualifying as a first officer with Ryanair. They have achieved their ambition and they are now on a career path with Europe’s largest airline group. Well done, we are very proud of each and every one of you.”

Ryanair’s Chief Pilot Captain Aidan Murray said: “Since we restarted hiring for the Pilot Cadet Programme in 2021, we have seen the first Ryanair Mentored Cadets coming through the assessment and Type Rating courses and we are delighted to see that the standard from our Mentored Cadet schools has been extraordinary. We set the bar high in Ryanair and to see 100 AFTA graduates make the grade and join Ryanair in the past 12 months is in itself a testament to the training standards achieved by Captain Mark Casey and the AFTA team. We look forward to continue working with the AFTA team in the future.”

AFTA employs over 55 instructors and admin staff at their two bases in Cork and Waterford, where they operate a fleet of 22 aircraft including Diamond DA42 Twin Stars, Cessna 172 aircraft and four flight simulators. AFTA’s fleet of aircraft is maintained in-house at their EASA-approved maintenance facilities in Cork and Waterford.

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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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