An Irish airline aims to raise € 500,000 by the middle of next year as part of its offer to expand its drone training and certification services across Europe.
Founded in 2019, Avtrain claims to be the leading European company in the field of drone training and has high hopes for growth as drones are increasingly used in a wide range of industries.
Julie Garland, Founder and CEO of Avtrain, has years of experience in the aviation and legal sectors, having worked in both sectors before establishing the company in 2019.
In 2015, she created the Unmanned Aircraft Association of Ireland (UAAI), an organization that lobbies on behalf of drone operators in Ireland and which today has over 560 members. She previously worked with Aer Lingus, Weston Airport and CityJet, and is also a lawyer by training.
With Avtrain, Garland is trying to establish a regulatory framework that can help grow the drone industry in Ireland while keeping the skies safe. The company has trained more than 350 pilots in 2021 alone.
“It’s huge when you consider that there are only about 500 on the live register at the moment. So we’re really getting better and better, ”Garland said.
Avtrain, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland, certifies drone pilots for all fixed-wing, hybrid, single-rotor and multirotor drones in all weight classes. It is empowered to train drone users in the standards required by European regulations, which entered into force in 2019.
“European regulations have made a huge difference for the drone industry but also for Avtrain, as they have allowed us to move from a company that provided Irish national pilot licenses to European licenses,” she said. declared. “They have also enabled us to expand our business across Europe.
Garland said Avtrain operates on the cutting edge of drone regulation, which means its services are in high demand not only in Ireland but around the world.
“It has been amazing,” she said of the expansion of the business. “We have hired two new employees, which has contributed to the growth, and we will be looking for two more next year to cope with the volume of work that awaits us at this time. “
For Garland, Avtrain’s drone training might be the immediate goal, but it’s not the only aviation project she’s involved in. The company is part of a consortium of companies and organizations aiming to establish Ireland’s first ‘vertiport’, a platform used by aerial vehicles.
The group, which aims to establish Ireland’s first air taxi service as well as routine beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, last week received a building permit to develop the project on a site next to Shannon Airport.
Garland said the group had deliberately chosen the location of the vertiport, with the aim of “integrating drones into the way we think about our normal airspace.” It is a rapidly changing industry, and it is the premier test bed for eVTOL (electric, vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.
In 2022, Garland will try to develop the training activities of Avtrain, but also to help the industry at large to develop. “It really means getting the Shannon base off the ground,” she said.
“My ambitions go beyond Avtrain: I want to help make Ireland a center of excellence for everything related to unmanned aircraft. We need to think bigger than individual businesses. We need to have the infrastructure in place to attract this business to Ireland. My goal is to make Ireland the center of the self-reliance world.