8 March 2023
By Elaine Murphy
AFTA’s ambition is to convert its entire aircraft fleet to SAF burning alternative power plants in the coming years and is currently exploring funding options to make this happen.
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, Sean 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. AFTA has shown a great passion for sustainable objectives in pilot training and demonstrated their ambition to be at the forefront of Green innovation in Europe. Mark Casey and his team are already recognised as being a pioneering Aviation Training Academy for their hands on approach to reducing carbon emissions and their vision has already been recognised in Europe, by being the first EASA approved flight training academy to introduce “Sustainability and Environmental awareness” in every aspect of the pilot cadets training.
It is important that Europe continues to lead the world in the transition to Green energy. How we can get there sooner is through continuing our green innovation supports for innovative SME’s, such as AFTA, and I wish them continued success in their ambition to convert their entire aircraft fleet to SAF burning power plant fuels in the comig years.”
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 Ireland’s leading Pilot Training Academy 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. Headquartered in Cork, Green Rebel provides site investigation and data services to the offshore wind sector and uses the DA42 NG Multi Mission Aircraft as the platform to deliver best in class quality imagery from it’s state of the art on-board advanced camera system.
Atlantic Flight Training Academy, founded in 1995, is Ireland’s largest – and one of Europe’s leading – Independent Flight Training Organisations. The Academy approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is headquartered at Cork International Airport with a secondary base at Waterford Airport.
AFTA has been training international cadets with contracts including, Ryanair, Air Astana, GlobeAir, Pegasus Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.
Equipped with a modern training fleet, AFTA also boasts state-of-the-art Boeing 737 800 NG and Boeing 737-8200 simulators. AFTA has an high success rate and have morew than excess of 2,400 high-calibre pilot graduates for commercial airlines since the business was founded in 1995.
AFTA is recognised by leading global airlines as a pioneer in the Pilot Training industry, working with its University partners Munster Technological University (MTU) in providing prospective pilots with a unique blended approach to becoming a commercial pilot, while also gaining an Honours primary degree, through the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Global Business and Pilot Studies (BSc) programme and also through the BA (Hons) in International Business with Aviation Studies programme. Students have a choice of Integrated or Modular Pilot Training Programmes.