A new initiative has been launched to help pilots who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the worst-hit sectors since the advent of COVID-19 has been air travel with the majority of flights being grounded over the last few months.
Captain Andy O’Shea, who trained Ryanair pilots for years, is the CEO of the Airline Pilot Club which aims to help pilots keep their qualifications current while they are grounded.
He told Down to Business with Bobby Kerr that he felt he needed to do something to help experienced pilots during the pandemic.
He said: "It's extremely difficult, COVID had a devastating impact on the industry globally and in Ireland in particular.
"I [initially] set up the Airline Pilot Club to look at one side of the industry at the new pilots coming in because they need a student-centric one-stop-shop but I always hoped it would move on to provide a broader offering for experienced pilots.
"When you look around the industry you see the stories that are coming out and you hear the anger and the pain that is being expressed on social media and other outlets, I just felt it was correct to accelerate that process of offering something to experienced airline pilots.
Captain O'Shea added they have teamed up with an organisation called Pilot Peer Support to try and offer assistance to experienced pilots.
He said: "Pilots are losing out on the day to day access to the cockpit which is distressing for them anyway, but they are being kept safe and legal within the circumstances that have been established through safety risk assessment which will allow them to keep their qualifications current."
However, he said the responsibility is on pilots who have lost their jobs to maintain their own training hours.
He said: "The operators who retain pilots and even local operators are extending the hand of friendship to those who have been furloughed to ensure they stay current and ready to go when the uptick comes.
"Unfortunately for the people who are in that unemployed situation, they have to go to a training operator, they have to read the regulation and they have to comply with that to make sure they keep their qualifications current."
Captain O'Shea said that pilots can access the support service by registering with the Airline Pilot Club through their website.