Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (258, 259, 260, 261)

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

261 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the assistance that he intends to provide to the young trainee pilots and their families impacted by the breakdown in the commercial relationship between The Pilot Training College in Waterford and the Florida Institute of Technology considering the PTCW received €18,000 in support from Enterprise Ireland in 2008 and in 2010 the State agency took a significant stake in the form of €400,000 worth of repayable preference shares. [34067/12]

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Clare Daly

Question:

262 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will intervene with Enterprise Ireland to ensure a satisfactory outcome for students left abandoned by PTC Ireland, whose contract has been terminated by the Florida Institute of Technology, to enable them to complete their studies. [34132/12]

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Clare Daly

Question:

268 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will assist students caught up in the PTC crisis in Florida, in view of the fact that the Irish Aviation Authority licensed this course, and that the State failed to ensure appropriate regulation. [34131/12]

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Joanna Tuffy

Question:

274 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the action he is taking to assist 80 Irish trainee pilots currently stranded in Florida after their courses were cancelled due to a dispute between the Pilot Training College in County Waterford and the Florida Institute of Technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34251/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

I propose to take Question Nos. 261, 262, 268 and 274 together.

The Pilot Training College Waterford (PTCW) is a privately owned and operated flight training college. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has responsibility for approving and overseeing flight training organisations in Ireland so I have referred the question to them for direct reply in relation to their functions in this regard. However, I would like to note that I have agreed with the IAA that the IAA will fund the flight costs of those self-financing students in Florida who have an existing contract with PTCW and who wish to leave the USA. I will also give consideration to a bonding/insurance scheme in future to provide financial protection for students of flight training organisations; however, such a scheme would most likely be on a voluntary basis.

The IAA is also endeavouring to ensure that the students affected will be able to avail of alternative training arrangements. It has also indicated that it will strive to facilitate the crediting of all flight and ground training carried out to date in Florida towards the students' final qualifications.

I am not in a position to comment on Enterprise Ireland's investment in the company as the role of the agency is not within my remit.