Norwegian-owned Central European Aviation Cluster and its partner Pilot Flight Academy, which is also Norwegian, are established a pilot training centre in Hévíz with an investment of 15 million euros.

At the press conference on Monday in Budapest to announce the investment, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told reporters that the centre in Hévíz will contribute to enabling Hungary to appear on the map of the world’s dynamically developing aviation industries to an even greater extent in the upcoming period. Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that the aviation industry is operating in an increasingly competitive environment, airlines are launching more and more passenger routes, and this requires highly-trained pilots.

The Minister told the press that Norway’s most significant pilot training academy will be coming to Hungary. “300 pilots will be trained at the centre each year, under the supervision of 80 teachers and experts. The required hangars, teaching facilities, accommodation and simulator centre will be set up in Hévíz. The pilot training academy has already ordered the necessary aeroplanes from Austria, and training at Hévíz will begin this autumn”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“Wizzair began training its own pilots in Nyíregyháza in December 2016 and military pilot and air traffic controller training courses were launched at the National University of Public Service after twenty years; last December a pilot training course began at the University of Debrecen’s Faculty of Technology, and the Norwegian investment will give further impetus to these”, he added. The investment in Hévíz is also good for inter-governmental relations; Hungary and Norway are allies in strategic issues such as the fields of energy and defence policy. Both countries are members of NATO, and accordingly all such investments bring strategic relations even closer”, Mr. Szijjártó said. President of Central European Aviation Cluster Stig Eyde said they had found out about the investment opportunity at an investment presentation in Norway, and the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) had provided a great deal of assistance towards their decision.

Mr. Eyde said the company sees a huge potential in Hévíz-Balaton Airport, and the city is a popular tourist destination. Managing Director and owner of the Pilot Flight Academy Frode Granlund highlighted the fact that a modern pilot training centre is being established in Hévíz. He pointed out that Pilot Flight Academy is one of Europe’s largest pilot training centres and is present in ten countries. Hungary is an excellent location in view of its geographical location and good weather, he stated. According to the region’s Member of Parliament, Jenő Manninger (Fidesz) said the development of the former military airport is of strategic importance to the Transdanubia region. “Keszthely-Hévíz is Hungary’s second largest tourist destination after Budapest, the investment means a high-level of technology and professional training, and could generate further investments”, Mr. Manninger said.