Flybe celebrates landmark graduation for UK aviation training

The first successful candidates of the UK’s inaugural Multi Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) course have graduated in a ceremony at Flybe’s headquarters in Exeter.

The completion of the course, under the supervision of the UK CAA, marks the culmination of a successful relationship between Flybe, Flight Training Europe Jerez and the CAA and is a milestone not only for Flybe’s pilot training but also for the development of professional pilot training in the UK.

Flybe’s six successful pilots began the ab initio course last year at Flight Training Europe in Spain before completing the qualification at Exeter and Farnborough airports. The newly qualified pilots will now move into the right seats of Flybe’s Bombardier Q400 aircraft as the first Multi Crew Pilot Licence holders in the UK.

“Flybe prides itself on being an innovative airline so we are absolutely delighted to be the first UK airline to have embraced ab initio pilot training under this new MPL programme,” commented the airline’s chief operating officer, Andrew Strong. “We have been extremely encouraged by the successes achieved with this new MPL course that not only gives those entering the profession a more fully rounded set of skills but that will also complement our own internal training programme as graduates move up the career ladder in preparation for later command courses.”

In further commenting on the success of the inaugural MPL course, head of approved training organisations at the CAA, Roy Burden added, "[This] marks a significant change for pilot training in the UK and should be seen as an encouraging step for future pilot recruitment. It is an exciting moment for the CAA, Flight Training Europe and, of course, Flybe who have supported the pilots throughout their course."

The MPL graduation comes just a week after the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) singled out Flybe as one of the few airlines committed to the funded training of new pilots. BALPA warned that Britain could be faced with a shortage of airline pilots within the next few years due to the cash crisis faced by pilots throughout their training, unless more airlines followed Flybe’s lead.

“The successful graduates here exhibit the very highest calibre of professionalism. We look forward to welcoming them full-time into the company and wish them all the very best success in their new careers with us,” concluded Strong.

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