AFTA sets flightpath to sustainable future for pilot training

AFTA sets flightpath to sustainable future for pilot training

Nathan Taggart, Shannon Convie and Niall Fitzgerald, Atlantic Flight Academy student cadets, with MEP Seán Kelly at the launch of AFTA's Green Economy initiative. Picture: David Creedon

CORK headquartered, Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA), an Enterprise Ireland (HPSU) client company, training commercial pilots in co-operation with MTU for the global airline industry, has set itself on a clear flightpath towards reducing its carbon footprint and implementing further sustainable objectives in pilot training.

AFTA’s ambition is to convert it’s entire fleet to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) alternative power plants in the coming years and is currently exploring funding options to make this happen.

AFTA is already recognised as an industry leader in Europe by being the first EASA approved, flight training academy to introduce ‘Sustainability and Environmental awareness’ in every aspect of the pilots training journey. As a significant independent Irish airline pilot training provider in Europe, AFTA has moved a step closer to reducing its carbon footprint by changing its advanced multi-engined aircraft fleet from high carbon emitting older technology aircraft, to the next generation, Austrian manufactured, Diamond DA 42 NG (next generation) aircraft. The DA 42 NG can run on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) which is plant-based, reducing emissions by over 90% when the power plants additional efficiency is factored in.

AFTA is firmly embedded in the education sector, partnering with MTU, and uses its aircraft to deliver the hands-on practical and theory elements of the airline pilot trading curriculum. While government supports are available for the transport sector to retrofit their equipment to run on alternative fuels, no such supports are currently available for businesses like AFTA that are in the education sector.

On a recent educational visit to see a next generation DA-42 aircraft engine at AFTA’s Engineering and Maintenance Facility at Cork Airport, Seán Kelly, Ireland South MEP and member of the European Parliament Committee for Industry, Research, and Energy, commented: “I am delighted to see an Irish-born Aviation Training Academy, headquartered here in Cork, leading Europe’s Aviation Training industry in it’s transition to a more sustainable future.”

Commenting on AFTA’s ambitions for sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint, Mark Casey, AFTA CEO and Head of training said: “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint significantly in line with government policy by 2030. The introduction of the Diamond DA42 NG has already proven to be a ‘game changer’ for the business.

These state-of-the-art modern aircraft are quieter, significantly more fuel efficient and most importantly they can run on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) which results in a 90% reduction in carbon emissions for our fleet. We are committed to achieving the 2030 deadline for a 100% fleet conversion to SAF ahead of schedule and we are in current discussions with manufacturers and airframe retrofit component providers to lock in an achievable timeline to conversion.”

Founded in 1995, AFTA is one of Ireland’s leading pilot training Academies with long-running partnerships with Ryanair, Air Astana, GlobeAir, and many other European airlines. In addition to providing full airline pilot training courses to airlines and self-sponsored individuals, AFTA also supports the provision of specialist services to the expanding offshore wind energy industry and currently operates aircraft on up to 12 sites offshore around Ireland and the UK, for Green Rebel.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more