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AFTAs Graduation Ceremony took place on the 3rd September 2022, in Munster Technological University.

We had over 60 returning graduates and many more recent graduates sending their regrets as they were busy working in bases across Europe.

The graduation ceremony was filled with proud friends and family from all over the world who had come to support the graduating students, their remarkable achievement and to share in the celebrations of this momentous occasion.

The AFTA Graduation Ceremony honours those students who have completed their training, many of whom have gained employment with our partner airlines. It was also a great opportunity to meet students now embarking on their aviation career journey in airlines across Europe and in varied roles in the aviation sector.

Attended by over 150 guests including parents, friends, pilots and instructors the ceremony was hosted by Captain Mark Casey (Head of Training and CEO).

Dr. Tim Crowley of Munster Technological University, our third level education partners, kicked off the ceremony by welcoming those in attendance and spoke of the strong partnership AFTA and MTU have developed, collaborating on several degree programmes including:

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Global Business and Pilot Studies
  • BA Honours of International Business with Aviation Studies
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) with Aviation Management
Dr. Tim Crowley of Munster Technological University

Captain Mark Casey CEO and Head of training at AFTA delivered a key note speech to graduates, noting the challenges these recent graduates have overcome during Covid, remarking on their resilience and unwavering determination to complete their training. He concluded his speech by sharing some parting words of wisdom to take with them in their future careers, “the mark of a great ship handler, is never getting into situations that require great ship handling” Ernest King.

Captain Mark Casey CEO and Head of training at AFTA

Captain Gerry Humphreys, Deputy Head of Training, addressed the Ryanair Mentored Graduates, reminding them of the pivotal role they play in the airline industry and the importance of looking after their mental health as their career progresses.

Captain Daniel Lynch, Chief Flight Instructor, in his speech noted how privileged the team in AFTA are to have trained the students graduating today and delivered a speech including motivational words for graduates to go forward with. 

Captain Daniel Lynch, Chief Flight Instructor
Captain Gerry Humphreys, Deputy Head of Training

After such powerful words from AFTAs senior instructors and management, graduates were invited, one by one, to receive their certificates. A very proud moment for those who have worked extremely hard to reach this milestone in their life. Friends and family awarded a round of applause to each individual graduate as they took to the stage to finally mark the end of their training chapter. 

Captain Philip Smythe brought the ceremonies to a conclusion and thanked all our graduates and guests who travelled far and wide to be in attendance.

Captain Philip Smythe, Safety Manager

The Graduation Ball followed later in the evening, in the Rochestown Park Hotel.

Captain Mark Casey introduced our special guest speakers from Ryanair and highlighted the monumental support that the Ryanair management team have given to AFTA since the mentored programme commenced in 2018. Well over 100 graduates have already joined the ranks of the ‘Giant’ that is Ryanair with 535 aircraft, 95 bases and projecting to grow to over 225 million passengers per year by 2026.

Our graduates and family members were addressed by our guest speakers Captain Aidan Murray, Ryanair Chief Pilot and Captain Paul Kelly, Ryanair Chief Instructor, both whom commended graduating pilots and AFTA for the professionalism, high quality of training and work ethic instilled in them and evident in their careers now with Ryanair.

Captain Paul Kelly, Ryanair Chief Instructor
Captain Aidan Murray, Ryanair Chief Pilot

Kyle Johnston, Training & Compliance Manager took to the stage to deliver a light hearted and entertaining speech that ensured everyone had a smile on their face before taking to the dance floor!

The graduation ceremony and ball are the culmination of hard work, determination and commitment by those involved. It was an honour to be host this milestone in the cadets’ careers and we congratulate them on their achievement.