Tayside Aviation poised for “exciting growth journey” under new ownership

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Scotland’s Tayside Aviation is poised to become an international centre of excellence under the ownership of entrepreneur and Falklands paratrooper veteran Tony Banks.


His newly formed ARB Aviation has purchased the Dundee-based organisation in a deal which will see Tayside Aviation, an Approved Training Organisation, aim to become an international player in the aviation training sector as it embarks on what he described as an “exciting journey” of growth.

The 53-year-old business, run by the Watt family, will retain the same staff, including Managing Director Jim Watt. However, ARB intends to develop the school’s offering and attract aspiring pilots and aviation professionals from Dundee and the U.K., as well as internationally.

Tayside Aviation provides industry-leading training for pilots and aviation professionals, including private and commercial pilot licences and a BSc (Hons) Aviation Pilot Degree. Its partners include the University of Central Lancashire, the RAF and the International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI) with whom it is exploring innovative new industry training and pathways into the sector for children as young as 14 years old. These jobs include engineers, ground crew and pilots. IASTI is in the process of developing relationships with local Dundee high schools with a view to opening up the applicable pathways to those interested in careers in aviation.

Jim Watt, said: “We are delighted to announce our new ownership under ARB Aviation and to build upon the positive momentum Tayside Aviation has created over the last few decades. We plan to increase our intake of international students, as well as raise our profile in the U.K. and greater global aviation community.”

Chief Flight Instructor James Whitby said: “We want to encourage more young people to look at careers in aviation and flying, particularly with our BSc Degree, which not only gives graduates an edge in aviation, but also provides a solid academic qualification and allows career flexibility. Our work with IASTI means we will develop close links with local high schools in Dundee and we are looking to build on that with other educational institutions.”

A keen flight enthusiast himself, Tony Banks said: “ARB Aviation is excited to be on this journey with Tayside Aviation which we intend to develop into an international player in the aviation training sector. We look forward to building on Tayside Aviation’s already outstanding reputation, and working with the team to take the company to even greater heights.”

Tony, who is a Dundee local and Chairman of the award-winning Balhousie Care Group, added: “It is an important step not only for the UK’s aviation sector but also for Dundee, Scotland and the UK in general. This is the latest sign that Dundee is on the global map as a business player and an investment hub, and it also puts the city at the forefront of aviation excellence. With Tayside Aviation, both local and international aspiring pilots and aviation professionals can enjoy first-class training in an unrivalled location.”