View Full Version : MORE GOING BUST
13th Nov 2001, 17:29
After recent folding of Aldergrove, Euroflight, 4 Forces, PPSC, SFT and some other nondescript schools, following must be of interest. Also, who else is going bust?
There are hundreds of places providing flight training in the UK. After excluding the few still in the commercial training business, the bulk of the business is estimated to be only about 3000 courses in 2002. However, half of the JAA PPL courses are now being taken in the US, mainly at a few places in Florida for obvious reasons. There are, also, a few successful schools in UK, which means many UK schools and clubs are short of business and running rapidly out of cash and credit. More will go bust.
OK , the UK has a tradition of enthusiastic amateurs and cutting corners ( and it does show at many places) but even 10 courses a year is not really viable. If they could still get away with charging a student twice as much as the cheapest Florida school, around £60,000 for 10 courses is still inadequate to pay the instructor, fuel and other operating costs, for a 150, make a realistic contribution to the fixed costs/general overheads and provide a reasonable profit for the proprietor or club. Also- work it out- most UK places will not find students for 10 courses a year. The average number of PPL courses per place must be around 5.
P.S. This is not my story and comments welcome on the estimates and arithmetic.
13th Nov 2001, 18:06
Hundreds of schools - I wonder.
Don't forget that the trip to the US is not for everyone for all sorts of reasons, so I wonder if half is a true figure.
Also, I would not assume that flying clubs only cater for brand new PPL's. There are all the other ratings and also lots of people carry on flying within a club environment once they have their licences.
I agree, it's not good times, made worse by the ease and attractive cost of learning in a cheaper environment.
This country is just not setup for aviation, regulations that make one seeth, nimby's round every courner, and politicians who see don't see the benefit to the community and tax us out of the skyies.
The Belgrano needs to watch out, or one day it might have it's nice shiny glass building replaced with a small greenhouse.
13th Nov 2001, 18:49
You may find that there is less enthusiasm for overseas training when NPA14 is adopted and US PPL schools have to provide their instructors with the same standardisation as the commercial schools (15 hrs flight and 30 hrs ground training by a JAA rated FIC instructor).
I doubt the Belgrano will worry too much, initial licensing forms a vanishingly small part of their business. In any case, the CAA get the same money from the US schools, plus plenty of jollies for the inspectors. They would probably prefer all training to take place in nice, warm, countries with plenty of duty-free.
13th Nov 2001, 23:13
Commercial training may slow down, but the PPLs keep rolling in. I've picked up 2 new students in the last week alone, so your figures may be a bit on the low side.
'I' in the sky
14th Nov 2001, 02:32
Having worked at a school in the US which was at the time training for approved CAA modules could I respectfully suggest that if the inspectors actually inspected rather than just going for a jolly, some of these approvals wouldn't stand.
It was certainly apparent that the inspectors were not familiar with the FARs and therefore unable to spot for a start that the aircraft were not maintained in " accordance with a Cof A recognised by the authority". Examples being aircraft operated on an extension beyond the 100 hour check - permitted in the UK but definitely not in the US and hirers actually being told this was OK. Unfortunately if it goes tits up all come back is on the PIC not the school. Aircraft being flown under IFR with required Transponder and pitot/static checks being out of date.
Not to mention gaping gaps in the tech logs every time the CFI used the planes for personal use.
I would gladly provide further specific details of these and other matters to the appropriate inspectors if I thought for a moment they would actually act rather than just me end up looking a tw*t.
14th Nov 2001, 04:07
Some predictable points, so far.
Not credible that CAA have sunstroke and accept lower standards in the US.
Two students-well done and may keep you afloat until Christmas but insignificant in the big picture.
14th Nov 2001, 13:14
The PPL market is unaffected by these
events in my experience - I agree with
The professional training - well thats another matter. Not too many new starters on the 36 month JAA money burn to a CPL/IR
in current market - it will recover though
14th Nov 2001, 13:25
The statistics from the CAA web site show that the size of the PPL market dropped almost 18% in 2000/2001 (3066 issues in 1999/2000, 2518 in 2000/2001). In addition the number of people holding valid PPLs was 10% lower in 2,000 than it was in 1999 (1999 - 30,961, 2000 - 27,661). If an average UK PPL costs £4,500 and an average PPL hires for 15 hours a year at £90/hr the above figures represent a loss of about £6,921,000 (Of revenue) to the flight training industry. I have no idea how much business goes overseas, but I'd guess it must be between 25% and 40%
14th Nov 2001, 20:10
Still Learning good digging I stand corrected
This is appalling and I would be intrigued as to the CAAs view on why this is the case
The JARs have a lot to answer for in my opinion:
CPL exam fiasco
PPL IR issues reduced to virtually zero
Training providers going bust
Reduced students for PPL
And for what
So that a redundant Sabena guys can work for Ryanair
nobody voted for it
nobody wants it
15th Nov 2001, 13:45
Apart from economic reasons I'd say PPLs and SFH are down because of...
Loss of NVQ
Bad weather last winter
The fun/cost balance going the wrong way
A less than enticing fleet (in general)
Lack of any customer service in (some) schools
No sales effort by (some/many?) flying schools
15th Nov 2001, 16:27
Proving to be a useful topic but some of the reasons are excuses.
NVQ- was deliberately and totally abused, so the UK schools have only themselves to blame.
Bad weather- is a problem but a more common problem in the UK is that schools are closed when there is good weather in daylight hours!
JAR was a factor but not a permanent one. OK a JAA PPL course costs a little more than a CAA but you are getting more flying!
Fuel cost- went up everywhere.
I don't have any evidence that fleets, customer service etc. are generally better in Florida but everyone who has been there says that there is much more commitment to 'getting it done'. Since the schools do not have any revenue from not providing training, this seems to why many UK schools have plenty of excuses but no profit.
Any news of further flying school failures in UK, or US?
15th Nov 2001, 22:48
I'm intrigued where you fly from in Yorks. Must be very quiet. You asked for opinion, so you got it, based only on my personal experience - nothing more. To reiterate, there appears to be no drop off thus far, WHERE I WORK. Two new full-time (more or less) PPL students a week is more than I can handle, given the limitations of the bloody weather here. My hours are only limited by the weather, not the trade available.
A CPL/IR instructor commented to me today that things seemed in fact to have become progressively busier over the last year, although in a subtle rather than blatant fashion. Helps that he has a sim to play in when the weather really deteriorates.
It really seems to depend on the nature of the flying school, and its reputation. Our competitors on the field are quite large, but seem quiet. We are small, but remain very busy. I suspect that the very large and very small schools will find the going too tough, whilst mid size schools will be able to adapt.
16th Nov 2001, 04:43
this looks like a fun debate, here goes.
one of the reasons we have JAR-OPS is that AOPA contacted belgium and requested it because they thought it would be a good idea!! yes, we all know now - strange though, that it is AOPA campaigning for the national licence?!!!
the reasons for a decline in PPL's:
1. loss of the NVQ - we all know it was abused - figures i saw showed 4 people completing and receiving their NVQ. out of the millions it must of cost it is not surprising that we lost it.
2. JAR - utter confusion and the rules and goal posts moving every time you spoke to the beloved CAA.
3. the weather - nearly 2 years of pants weather doesn't help - less flying = less money for the schools and even worce means the student doing more hours = more money.
to be totally fare many prospective students would not know about the NVQ going or the impacts of JAR.
i think we are stil missing the point though when we keep talking about how bad it is getting. something needs to be done to make the sport cheaper, such as no tax on training like many of our european buddies.
i dont know here the figure of £4500.00 came from to obtaining a PPL but these days you are looking at more £6000-8000.
at the current costs having a PPL is more of a chore now and much less fun - i only hope the National licence fills the void!!
:) :D :)
16th Nov 2001, 05:33
I don't have a problem about anyone having an opinion- that is the point of posting.
There are some successful UK schools but 100 PPL's a year is big, at least 10 X average?, not medium-size, in UK. More of the small places must shut soon.
Pleased to see some honesty about the problems and cost of a JAA PPL course in UK, which is typically at least twice as much as in Florida. There is a lot of lying, everywhere, about the true cost of a complete course. True that going to Florida doesn't suit everyone but, with a difference of thousands of pounds and whatever the problems, the exodus will grow unless something significant changes.
It seems doubtful that any pleading for special support or protection will gain political support in UK. Apart from being regarded as a rich man's hobby, the industry's blatant abuse of NVQ will be long and well remembered in Whitehall. (I remember one of the- recently gone bust- schools telling everyone openly at their stand how to 'fiddle' NVQ to get a cheaper PPL at the Flyer Training exhibition!)
Little Englander solutions are, also, contrary to the impetus for harmonisation and free trade. The 'national licence' is, simply, a second-class ticket which is all about minimising training to cut providers' costs rather than giving people a proper start.
16th Nov 2001, 06:09
i have mixed feelings on the National licence - nice that more people may be able to afford it but there are a lot of complicated issues inside which need exploring!! :confused:
16th Nov 2001, 07:18
It boils down to cost....for me.... I learned in California, cost around $5000 including everything. Since been back and got my FAA IR, cost around $5000 for everything. How much would you pay at a UK school for a PPL and IR....about 16000 GBP plus landing and approach fees......I would love to fly in the UK, but frankly if I want to fly more than a couple of hours, I may as well buy myslef a ticket to LA and still save money.
As for reduced standards in the US, I believe there is reduced bulls*it rather than reduced standards !
...and the word is getting out.....