Waves, which is due to launch its technology-led, on demand air taxi service between the Channel Islands this month, has said it will introduce its own training academy early next year to offer islanders the opportunity to become commercial pilots.

Matt Bisson, Chief Operating Officer at WAVES, explained, "As a Channel Islands company, we have already started building teams in both Guernsey and Jersey, but we know that qualified pilots with the flying experience we are stipulating are not readily available in the islands. We’ve already recruited a number of pilots to move across to Guernsey ahead of our launch but that’s not enough for us. We want to continue investing in the islands by launching the WAVES training academy.

"Not everyone has the finances to fulfil their passion for flying and so we want to hear from anyone who is interested in becoming a commercial pilot with WAVES," Bisson continued. "It’s possible they will never have been in a cockpit before or that they have done multiple flights, it doesn’t matter, they just need a passion and a commitment to helping Waves realise its ambitions of serving islanders."

The academy will see its first student intake join next year.

Simon Crook, who is based in Guernsey and is a senior training captain at Virgin Atlantic Airways, is WAVES’ aviation advisor. He stated, "Airlines across the globe are all experiencing the problem of recruiting suitably qualified pilots to fly their aircraft. Most forward thinking airlines have addressed this by starting their internal pilot cadet programmes as the demand for pilots is set to increase dramatically over the next ten years. WAVES have demonstrated again that they are a very forward-thinking and innovative airline prepared to set up their own academy. We are already in contact with major training providers to ensure we recruit the right people and offer first class training to our future pilots. We will try and use as many on-island resources as we can, thereby supporting the local economy and providing an exciting and rewarding career for local people."

Waves placed an order for one Cessna Grand Caravan EX utility turboprop at EBACE this year, which has now come off the production line in the US and will shortly begin its journey to Guernsey. In the meantime, Waves has today taken delivery of another Cessna Grand Caravan as a dedicated mission aircraft for academy training purposes, freight and other missions required in the islands. It will be re-registered as 2-CREW.

"We are thrilled to have taken the opportunity to add the aircraft 2-CREW to our growing fleet and be in a position to offer this for multiple Channel Islands’ missions such as freight and medevac,’ commented Waves CEO, Nick Magliocchetti.

Bisson added, "The chosen registration name 2-CREW was a key decision in both our training academy plan and our business model to operate our passenger fleet with two crew at all times. This is a very exciting time for the team at Waves."