British Company grabs a Solution to US Pilot Shortage

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ARTICLE:  Training center for pilots planned at Phoenix Goodyear Airport

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The confluence of a number of factors, but primarily new regulatory requirements, has made it abundantly clear that there is an immediate need for pilots. The drastic circumstances demand creative, innovative and thoughtful solutions .

The existence of a military surplus aviation training center located in a community known for its ideal weather for flying is an obvious answer to the problem. Phoenix Goodyear Airport had exactly such a facility- a former U.S. Navy training center with a dormitory, swimming pools, a volleyball court, a gymnasium, and a restaurant. All that was needed was to add new simulator trainers and aircraft.

So what US company jumped on this opportunity? None. Instead, CTC Aviation Group Ltd., a British company, intends to train pilots for airlines in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, while also aiming for high-growth markets in South America. Why here? “The primary reason for us coming to Arizona is to take advantage of the wonderful area, and the good weather, plentiful supply of airspace and the availability of staff and people that can work for us there, and (because of) some lower costs,” said Anthony Petteford, a group director/executive vice president of strategic projects and marketing.

If that is not infuriating enough, guess what company trains pilots next door? A Lufthansa German Airlines flight-training academy.

With all of the complaining about the impact of the new rules on airlines, especially regional airlines, why did not a US company grab this opportunity? Is there a crisis or a dearth of US initiative and action?

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