Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (869, 870)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

883 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will deal with a matter (details supplied) regarding student pilots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34384/12]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

897 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he has taken to address the situation Irish students undergoing pilot training find themselves in with the collapse of Pilot Training College considering that the State, through the Irish Aviation Authority, licensed Pilot Training College as a fit and proper organisation to provide the education and ensure continuity of training rather than dashing hopes of any young people caught up in the fallout. [34871/12]

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 883 and 897 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 questions 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 involvement with the company as the role of the agency is not within my remit.