Cork-based AFTA’s ambition is to convert its entire aircraft fleet to SAF burning alternative power plants.
Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) has set itself a clear flightpath flight path towards reducing its carbon footprint and implementing further sustainable objectives in pilot training.
The Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up’s ambition is to convert its entire fleet to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) alternative power plants in the coming years and is currently exploring funding options to make this happen.
“We are committed to achieving the 2030 deadline for a 100% fleet conversion to SAF ahead of schedule and we are in current discussions with manufacturers and airframe retrofit component providers to lock in an achievable timeline to conversion”
AFTA is already recognised as an industry leader in Europe by being the first European Union Avaiation Safety Agency-approved flight training academy to introduce ‘Sustainability and Environmental Awareness’ in every aspect of the pilots training journey.
Next generation aircraft
As an independent Irish airline pilot training provider in Europe AFTA has moved a step closer to reducing its carbon footprint by changing its advanced multi-engined aircraft fleet from high carbon emitting older technology aircraft, to the next generation, Austrian manufactured, Diamond DA 42 NG (next generation) aircraft.
The DA 42 NG can run on SAF which is plant based, reducing emissions by over 90% when the power plants additional efficiency is factored in.
“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint significantly in line with government policy by 2030,” said Mark Casey, AFTA’s CEO and head of Training.
“The introduction of the Diamond DA42 NG has already proven to be a ‘game changer’ for the business. These state of the art modern aircraft are quieter, significantly more fuel efficient and most importantly they can run on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) which results in a 90% reduction in carbon emissions for our fleet.
“We are committed to achieving the 2030 deadline for a 100% fleet conversion to SAF ahead of schedule and we are in current discussions with manufacturers and airframe retrofit component providers to lock in an achievable timeline to conversion.”
Founded in 1995, AFTA is Ireland’s leading Pilot Training Academy with long running partnerships with Ryanair, Air Astana,GlobeAir and many other European airlines. In addition to providing full airline pilot training courses to airlines and self-sponsored individuals, AFTA also supports the provision of specialist services to the expanding offshore wind energy industry and currently operates aircraft on up to 12 sites offshore around Ireland and the UK, for Green Rebel. Headquartered in Cork, Green Rebel provides site investigation and data services to the offshore wind sector and uses the DA42 NG Multi Mission Aircraft as the platform to deliver best in class quality imagery from its state of the art on-board advanced camera system.
On a recent educational visit to see a next generation DA-42 aircraft engine at AFTA’s Engineering and Maintenance Facility at Cork Airport Sean Kelly, Ireland South MEP and member of the European Parliament Committee for Industry, Research and Energy, commented: “AFTA has shown a great passion for sustainable objectives in pilot training and demonstrated their ambition to be at the forefront of Green innovation in Europe. Mark Casey and his team are already recognised as being a pioneering Aviation Training Academy for their hands on approach to reducing carbon emissions and their vision has already been recognised in Europe, by being the first EASA-approved flight training academy to introduce “Sustainability and Environmental awareness” in every aspect of the pilot cadets training.
“It is important that Europe continues to lead the world in the transition to Green energy. How we can get there sooner is through continuing our green innovation supports for innovative SME’s, such as AFTA, and I wish them continued success in their ambition to convert their entire aircraft fleet to SAF burning power plant fuels in the coming years,” Kelly said.
Main image at top: Student cadets Nathan Taggart, Shannon Convie and Niall Fitzgerald with Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly. Photo: David Creedon