Aircraft ordered

Pilot training school adds to fleet as demand soars

Graeme Frater (blue tie) and Director, Craig McDonald
Flying high: Graeme Frater and director, Craig McDonald

A pilot training firm supplying staff to commercial airlines is investing £2.2 million to add eight aircraft to its fleet.

ACS Aviation based at Perth Airport is expecting two Tecnam P-Mentor planes by the summer with the remaining six over the following 18 months.

The company has 352 students training towards a pilot’s licence, with 120 pilots graduating from the flight school this financial year – a 20% increase on the previous year.

Its pilots have taken up jobs with airlines such as Ryanair, Wizz Air, and Loganair.

ACS has been training pilots since 2007 and is a CAA approved aircraft maintenance services provider. The the company runs Perth Airport with responsibility for operating the control tower, fire service and refuelling.

Together with a 21% uplift in aircraft maintenance inspections, the business is on track to post another record year, with turnover up 17% to £3.4 million in 2022/23 and a further increase to £3.9 million forecast for 2023/24.

To cope with the increase in pilot training and maintenance activity, ACS has seen staff and contractor numbers increase from 55 to 60 over the past year, with further recruitment planned for 2023.

Graeme Frater, ACS managing director, said: ““We are Scotland’s only European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) flight training academy, which has helped us to attract students from across the UK and Europe.  

“Combine this with our analysis of published data from the leading aviation regulatory bodies which shows that the UK and Europe will encounter a significant shortfall of pilots over the next decade, and we anticipate increasing numbers of students travelling to Perth to engage in pilot training over the coming years.”

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