Laois pilots still stranded

TWO Laois trainee pilots hit by the recent conflict are no closer to having the situation resolved and are unable to finish their training.

TWO Laois trainee pilots hit by the recent conflict are no closer to having the situation resolved and are unable to finish their training.

The two young men are among approximately 180 students who are affected by the dispute between Waterford based Pilot Training Centre of Ireland (PTC) and the Florida Institute of Technology Aviation (FIT).

Speaking to the Leinster Express, Portlaoise based student Mark Ryan said no progress has been made in getting their money back.

“For now everything is at a standstill. They appointed an examiner to PTC on Thursday and that will last 100 days. So we have to wait and see if they will be allowed to trade again. My hands are tied as far as the training goes. The parents representatives met the fraud squad on Friday afternoon and they have said they are going to investigate it. It won’t get us the money back though,” he said.

Stradbally native Cathal Simpson returned from Florida two weeks ago.

“I was out in Florida for about three weeks. We didn’t know what was going on, we weren’t given any information. Then representatives from the IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) travelled out and when they told us what was happening we were in shock. We couldn’t believe it. When Waterford closed their doors and started having talks it hit home then,” he said.

Cathal said that he has now been left unsure of what to do.

“At the moment we are left in limbo. I have been in touch with other flight schools to see if they would be able to take us, but it is the money. Myself and Mark are at the quickest part but one of the most expensive.”

Cathal has applied to Carlow IT to finish a degree course there.

“It will give me a year to think about what to do with my flight training,” he said.

Both students travelled to the Dail recently and spoke to a number of representatives, as well as meeting An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. They said they received overwhelming support both from Senator John Whelan and Charlie Flanagan TD.