Irish Pilots Look to Future After PTC Program Ends
University Pursuing Training Alternatives for Flight Students
MELBOURNE, FLA.—Conor Deeny has dreamed of being a pilot since he was 5 years old. Now 18, the former Pilot Training College (PTC) student from Derry, Ireland, considers that a dream delayed.
Deeny, who plans on becoming a commercial airline pilot, is one of 186 aviation students who were training until recently with the Florida Institute of Technology. The Ireland-based PTC had contracted with FIT Aviation to offer the training, based on several factors—including FIT Aviation’s excellent reputation.
“I’ve found the FIT Aviation staff to be very professional,” Deeny said. “In fact, that’s one of the things PTC sold us on when we signed up for the program—that FIT runs a very professional program with excellent facilities. And, they were right about that.”
Deeny, who has been training in Melbourne since November 2011, has been organizing the former PTC students who are now determining their next steps after Florida Tech was forced to end its relationship with PTC for not paying its bills. Florida Tech estimates that PTC owes the university at least $1.4 million for training and housing that has already been provided. The university spent months attempting to resolve the ongoing payment issues with PTC, but with no success. Florida Tech has filed legal action against PTC.
As of July 11, as many as 95 of the students—31 self-pay students and 64 Air Astana students—were making plans to stay and continue their training. The university extended an offer of no-charge housing and meals to all affected PTC students through Aug. 1, while simultaneously working to help the students meet their visa requirements.
Deeny, who is headed home to Ireland today, is one of the self-pay students who would like to come back to Florida Tech.
“Yes, I’d like to come back,” Deeny said. “FIT has run a first-class operation. Our problems are with PTC, not FIT.”
Florida Tech continues its positive collaboration with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) throughout the transition process. The IAA has announced that it is making arrangements to help bring home any self-funded PTC students at Florida Tech who need assistance. The IAA is working with Aer Lingus to accommodate students on flights from Orlando to Dublin between July 11 and Aug. 1. Students who wish to accept this offer must register their details with the Irish Aviation Authority at email@example.com.
Further travel arrangements for those not living in Ireland may also be arranged, according to the IAA.
The IAA has notified the students of these arrangements via Florida Tech’s information portal. Self-funded PTC students who have already returned from Orlando may have their air fare refunded to the value of a one way economy class fare by submitting their details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students may also contact the IAA Helpline at 01 603 1111 from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. July 11 for further information.