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7th December 2009

Building begins on Flybe’s £24-million Training Academy

Aviation Minister visits leading regional airline to cut first turf

Flybe, the UKs Number One domestic airline, has today welcomed Aviation Minister Paul Clark MP to Exeter for an official turf cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction on the airline’s £24-million, Flybe Training Academy adjacent to Exeter International Airport. 

The Flybe Training Academy is being designed and built by local firm, Rok, and is scheduled to open late next year. It will provide world-class training not only for its own staff but will also enhance the carrier’s growing reputation for providing an international training facility for the airline industry as a whole and for offering specialist training for companies involved across the travel-related spectrum.

The state-of-the art building is part-funded to the tune of £4.3-million by the Learning and Skills Council’s new Capital Specialisation Fund (CSF) with an additional £2.8-million contributed by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA).

Aviation Minister, Paul Clark, said: “Aviation is vital to the UK economy, and I am delighted to see for myself the excellent work being done by Flybe and others to invest in its future.  Our country has a proud aeronautical history, and I believe it also has a bright future, but we need to ensure the right skills are in place to deliver the high-quality workforce the industry needs. This new academy will present an exciting opportunity for all involved, and will be good news for the local economy and the country as a whole.”

Months prior to becoming the first UK airline out of 150 leading UK companies to sign the Government’s Skills Pledge in June 2007, Flybe had announced the intention to replace its outdated training facilities with a state of the art Training Academy to incorporate four flight simulators and an independently owned and operated 160-room hotel.

Jim French, Flybe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted that the Minister is here with us today to share this important moment and officially mark the start of building of our world-class training facility. This major investment into training and skills’ development reflects a commitment that is very close to our hearts and that is a necessary component to the sustainable development of our company and staff.  In today’s competitive global economy, it is vital to create and retain a highly skilled workforce in order to succeed and survive.”

Rok’s construction leader in Exeter, Bruce MacDonald said his team was extremely proud to be working on such a prestigious and high profile project for the region, adding: “We have been doing plenty of ground work with Flybe to ensure the building fulfils its aspirations for a first class, environmentally sound facility for nurturing the much needed skills of the future.”  

The Flybe Training Academy, designed to BREEAM* Excellent specifications, will be a showcase for future developments elsewhere. It will support delivery of appropriate vocational qualifications for Flybe staff and assist in growing its reputation as a world-class training centre. It will also enable the airline to take a lead in moving the Government’s Skills Agenda forward by delivering training and skills’ development to local companies in line with the RDA and the LSC agendas. This will include ‘over-training’ for companies involved in the full spectrum of the sector such as delivering the Skills Shop facility for Exeter International Airport.

Added Mr French: “Today marks yet another important milestone in the growth of Flybe as a major player on the world aviation stage. We would therefore like to especially thank our joint funders and academic partners, who have contributed and worked so hard with us to make this momentous moment a reality.”