Scottish aviation business on course for rapid growth

ACS CEO Graeme Frater

ONE OF Europe’s leading flight training academies is on track to record a 26% increase in turnover thanks to a busy year that saw the business train more than 115 pilots at its base at Perth Airport, Scotland. 

ACS Aviation is now responding to the huge, and growing, demand for pilots from Europe’s leading airlines with a growth strategy that will see it invest over £2m in additional state-of-the-art flight simulators and twin-engine training aircraft, taking the ACS fleet to over 20 and making the company the largest training academy in the country.

The expansion of the business has resulted in a three-fold increase in the ACS Aviation workforce from 13 to 40 over the past three years and a forecasted uplift in turnover from £1.9 million to £2.4 million for the year ending 31st March.  

Complementing its premium flight training academy, the company also operates ACS Engineering, a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 145 approved aircraft maintenance services provider, specialising in aircraft and helicopter maintenance and engineering support. 

Commenting on recent developments, ACS Aviation CEO, Graeme Frater, said: “Europe accounts for 34% of global air traffic and according to Boeing projections this will grow by 113% by 2037, meaning the demand for pilots is only set to increase. With that in mind we have focused on increasing our flight training capabilities over the past year and thanks to our industry leading fleet and training concepts, this has resulted in a 40% uplift in the number of pilots trained.  

“Since we launched our flight training academy in 2007 we have successfully developed relationships with a number of European airlines including easyJet, Loganair,, Eastern Airways and Stobart Air, and we aim to grow this portfolio over the next 12 months.

“Moving forward we are not only looking to grow our engineering and flight training services at Perth Airport but we are also in talks with several other airports about expanding our aviation operations across the UK.”

To help with this expansion, ACS is working closely with Scottish Enterprise on several projects including aircraft engineering modern apprenticeships and graduate opportunities.  Acknowledging the capital outlay that is required to train pilots the business has also introduced a limited number of flight instructor sponsorships and flying scholarships. 

In addition, ACS Aviation will be hosting Scotland’s Pilot Careers and Flight Training Seminar at the Holiday Inn, Glasgow Airport on Saturday 29th February. The event is aimed to educate and inspire young people towards a career as a commercial airline pilot and will featuring airlines such as, Flybe and Loganair. 

Graeme Frater added: “The demand for pilots is growing rapidly worldwide and airlines are increasingly looking for new staff for their cockpits.  We know that there are many budding pilots out here who are perhaps unsure how to pursue a career in aviation so we though the best way would be to bring everyone involved in the industry together at one event.  Our previous two Flight Training seminars have been extremely popular and I am sure the 2020 event will be just as successful.”

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