- The new financial backing will help continue one of Europe’s largest flight schools
AAP Aviation is to become the biggest owners of Pilot Flight Academy (PFA) in Norway after a group of industrial and financial players have now joined forces to continue one of Europe’s largest and most modern flight schools.
In addition to AAP Aviation, Widerøe, the Norwegian regional airline, is taking a 10 percent stake in the academy. Viewed overall, this creates a stronger affiliation with the industry and attractive future prospects for students.
“Norway needs the educational provision which PFA represents,” says CEO Stein Nilsen at Widerøe. “By taking an equity stake, we’ll help to continue this provision, increase affiliation with the industry and secure access to newly qualified commercial pilots.”
The main PFA base is at Sandefjord Torp Airport, where a centre has been constructed with teaching facilities and student accommodations. A unit was also established at Notodden Tuven Airport in 2018. Internationally, the school is now represented in America through a partnership agreement with US Aviation Academy at Denton, Texas. The EASA base in Texas opened in January 2021. Various options for further international expansion on the basis of an anticipated consolidation in pilot academies are also under consideration.
“New pilots are much sought-after, and demand will increase further in coming years,” says CEO Espen Høiby at AAP Aviation, who will now be taking over as chairman of the Pilot Group of companies. “The PFA academy has a great reputation, with some excellent instructors, first-class facilities and modern aircraft and simulators. Everything is in place to play a leading role as the market returns.”
PFA can accommodate over 350 students. Of roughly 90 employees, 60 are highly qualified instructors. Sixteen modern aircraft, both single and twin engine, are used in training in Norway along with six simulators. In Texas PFA has access to over 10 aircraft and instructors.