andMr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he will give details of the new training scheme envisaged by Aer Lingus for the training and recruitment of new pilots; and whether this scheme will result in any change in the present arrangements for the recruitment of men from the Air Corps.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Aer Lingus: Training and Recruitment of Pilots.
The services of the Irish Air Companies have expanded at such a rate in recent years as to culminate in 1959-60 in the inability of the Air Corps to provide trained personnel in adequate numbers to meet additional pilot requirements for the companies. As a result the companies found it necessary to arrange for the training of a certain number of selected Irish youths at an aviation school in Scotland. This is intended as a temporary measure as announced by the companies at a press conference on 25th September, 1961, when full details of the scheme were given. Negotiations are in progress for the future training by the Air Corps of the pilot requirements of the companies, and I am hopeful of a successful outcome.
May I take it that the scheme that was in operation for the training in the Air Corps of pilots for Aer Lingus was not satisfactory?
Under the present circumstances requiring some ten new pilots every year, the scheme has been reorganised. In the arrangements now to be made, the Air Corps will assist Aer Lingus to train men directly for service in Aer Lingus.
The scheme in operation between Aer Lingus and the Air Corps has not proved flexible to accommodate Aer Lingus with regard to the number of pilots needed. Is it not a fact that over £1,100,000 was spent on the Air Corps for the purpose of making facilities available for the training of pilots for Aer Lingus and that that money has now gone down the drain? Is it not a fact that jet planes were purchased by the Air Corps—there was argument in the House—for the purpose of training pilots who would be transferred to Aer Lingus? That scheme has proved unsuccessful and pilots have now to be trained in Wales and Scotland for Aer Lingus. Money spent on jet aircraft and on the runway at Baldonnel has been wasted. Yet we cannot spend £200,000 on the provision of a helicopter service.
The Deputy is talking nonsense in regard to the suggestion that the Air Corps is related to the training of pilots. If he likes, he can put down a question to the Minister for Defence and he will find that out.