Flying Schools — [Sir Robert Syms in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:51 pm on 12 September 2023.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 3:51, 12 September 2023

I will not take up too much more of the Chamber’s time, because I spoke fairly extensively to start with, but I would certainly like to thank hon. colleagues who have brought to bear their own experiences and those of their families, particularly from the Northern Ireland angle, and from Dundee and the large and important training school that Chris Law spoke about in detail.

As I started by saying, this is not a localised issue; it is a UK-wide issue, and we have had three parts of the United Kingdom represented in contributions today, for which I am grateful. But I must say that I am disappointed by the Minister’s response. I fear that he spoke rather more with a Treasury hat on than with his more recent Transport Minister’s hat on. He does seem to be in a state of denial about a very real and serious problem, which is recognised by the industry. He just does not seem to acknowledge that flying schools are in a state of decline and the number of pilots that they have the capacity to produce is substantially declining.

I quoted, again at the outset, that around 2,500 pilot licences were granted in 2015, whereas this year, they are anticipated to be one fifth of that, at 500. That is not a healthy, vibrant business as it stands.