Draken to close UK-based helicopter training academy

Draken Europe has announced plans to close its UK-based Helicopter Academy at the end of this year with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic a key factor in the decision, as limitations on travel to and from the UK reduced its ability to secure new orders.

The academy, based at Cornwall Airport Newquay, provides basic, advanced and special mission (Search & Rescue) training to government agencies and international strategic partners, using a variety of helicopter types. Operations at the academy will now wind down over the coming months, ceasing on December 31, 2021.

Paul Armstrong, CEO of Draken Europe, said: “Draken Europe’s decision to close the Helicopter Academy was extremely difficult to make, and was the result of several months of discussion around the future operation of the site.

Draken Helicopter
Draken Helicopter Academy Eurocopter AS350 rests on the apron at Cornwall Airport, Newquay. Draken

“The dedication of our staff to making the Academy a success has been unmatched, but unfortunately the effects of the pandemic on operations have had a severe impact on its commercial viability and have necessitated its winding down and closure at the end of this year."

Continuing, Armstrong said that Draken’s leadership team was “extremely saddened” by the planned closure, with those likely to be affected by the move to be given support through the process.

The closure of the Helicopter Academy will not affect Draken Europe’s wider business, and the firm will continue operations at all other UK sites, the company stated. Courses at the academy provided training for pilots, rear crewmen and engineers to EASA and UK military standards, while crews supporting military programmes were also able to undertake logistics and electronic warfare options as required

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