The Norwegian Pilot Flight Academy (PFA), in cooperation with the also Norwegian Central European Aviation Cluster (CEAC), is going to establish its second airline pilot academy in Hungary.
According to the plans, the pilot training centre, to be implemented through an investment of EUR 15 million, will be the first element of the four-stage development package by the Norwegian investors, establishing 80 jobs requiring special knowledge (trainers and experts), and its maximum training capacity will be 300 cadets. The first training groups are planned to be launched within a half year, in November 2019 in Sármellék.
The professional partner for the pilot training is a Norwegian pilot training company, the Pilot Flight Academy (PFA). The company, founded in 2007, trains altogether 300 students at two Norwegian campuses with approximately the same number of employees as planned in Hungary − 80 people − and the students are trained using 4 airplane simulators and 13 planes at the moment.
They chose Hungary as the place for the second academy due to its geographical location and the ideal meteorological circumstances. Before picking out the Hévíz-Balaton airport, the Norwegian investor group inspected a number of other Hungarian aerodromes, but this was the only place where the required infrastructure and operational area was available. The two hangars with an area of 1000 squaremetres each, on altogether two hectares, accommodate the training airplanes, the simulation equipment, the education rooms, and the offices. The development stages of the project will also be implemented in the vicinity of the airport.
The aim of the cooperation of CEAC and PFA is to reduce the current and probably growing lack of pilots through the establishment of the Central European Training Centre, where several airlines could train pilots. In addition to the Pilot Flight Academy, negotiations have been launched with other European airlines about joining in.
After Wizzair’s statement about establishing a Wizz Air Pilot Academy in Budapest, the Norwegian investors’ announcement meant the second pilot training centre in Hungary within two years, clearly showing that Hungary is shifting from lower value-adding manufacturing activities to the higher value-adding, service-type investments also in the aircraft industry.
Aviation industry has seen a major upswing in Hungary recently – in addition to Lufthansa Technik’s development efforts in Budapest and Miskolc, Diehl Aviation opened a Hungarian engineering centre after the enlargement of its manufacturing capacities in Nyírbátor, while the Swiss-based RUAG Aerostructures has already three manufacturing units in Hungary. Furthermore, Airbus Helicopters is about to join the line by setting up a helicopter components manufacturing plant; the decision on the exact location may be made later this year.