Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (635)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

635. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the stage he has reached in the process of establishing a bonding scheme which would protect students training to be pilots and protect them against a similar loss to that experienced by students of the Pilot Training College, Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15068/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The failure of the Pilot Training College Waterford, a privately-owned and operated flight training school, to meet its contractual obligations to its students  was disgraceful and I have every sympathy for the students and their families who suffered considerable losses following the collapse of the college.  

Similar difficulties have been  experienced in some other EU Member States with their flight training schools.  It has been suggested that a bonding scheme should be implemented to protect students against such losses in future but some concerns have been expressed that this would increase costs in the sector and dissuade such organisations from remaining or establishing themselves in Ireland as such schemes are not mandatorily imposed elsewhere. The regulation of pilot training matters, including the approval of flight training organisations by national regulatory authorities, are governed by EU rules.  To avoid any competitive distortions in the pilot training market in the EU, any consumer protection measures such as bonding of flight schools, should be dealt with at a European level rather than at a national level. At present, most schools require trainees to pay in quarterly or monthly instalments rather than 'up front' as was the case in Waterford.