Europe's largest regional carrier Flybe has chosen Jerez, Spain-based Flight Training Europe as its partner organisation in creating the first multi-crew pilot licence (MPL) course for a UK-registered airline. The carrier and the flight training organisation are working with the UK Civil Aviation Authority to create an approved MPL course.
Flybe's head of crew training Brian Watt says the first course, which the airline hopes will begin in February, will consist of between six and 12 ab initio trainee pilots. Course graduates will go straight into the co-pilot seats of its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop fleet. From 2010 Watt sees the potential for two courses a year, but that will depend on how requirements develop.
Watts says the airline will interview aspiring pilots and put them through a selection procedure. Successful candidates will be offered a bonded contract involving up to £20,000 ($35,700) of funding by the airline, with assistance in financing the rest of the costs.
Only two European states have approved MPL courses so far: Denmark and Switzerland. At present European pilot licences are still defined by the Joint Aviation Regulations for flight crew licensing (JAR-FCL), but the European Aviation Agency is transposing them into European Union regulations over the next two or three years. Meanwhile, EASA is relying on national aviation authorities - such as the UK CAA - to approve standards for the new MPL training courses with its oversight, using the guidance provided in the International Civil Aviation Organisation's MPL standards. The MPL is effectively the world's first global pilot licence standard, because it is the first licence for which specific performance levels in all aspects of piloting have been agreed and prescribed in detail at ICAO. However, training courses suitable to bring pilots up to those standards still have to be defined locally.