‘Misleading’ advertorial said college was a leading supplier of pilots

The Pilot Training College was wrapped on the knuckles by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority two years ago for claiming to be a “leading supplier of commercial pilots to major airlines”.

An ‘advertorial’ for the company in an aviation magazine caused the controversy.

In the text PTC was described as “one of the leading suppliers of commercial pilots to the major airlines like Emirates, Flybe Virgin, Qantas and Ryanair”.

This and two other claims were challenged by a pilot and co-pilot.

When the “leading” claim was put to the company, it said its graduates were employed by 26 airlines around the world, that it was an approved training partner of Flybe, for which it had already trained eight students and were contracted to train a further six, and that they had 81 graduates with Ryanair, one each with Emirates and Qantas, and that a Virgin Airways employee was enrolled on its BSc degree in airline transport operations.

However, PTC did say “after careful reflection and reference to the CAP code” that its claim to be a leading supplier “was not the most appropriate phrasing”.

In its ruling in Oct 2010, the authority upheld the complaint as misleading, saying PTC should take greater care to ensure the accuracy of its claim.

It also upheld a claim over a statement in the advertorial that said “training to become an airline pilot will cost less that one yearis [sic] salary for a Captain, which is a level reached by most graduates within five years of graduation”.

The advertising body said it had not seen evidence that demonstrated the rank of captain was achieved by most graduates within five years. Therefore, it said the claim was misleading.

Finally, a complaint was made over a statement in the advertorial which read: “Not only has the number of jobs remained fairly constant, the downturn is in fact masking an imminent and serious pilot shortage in the industry, due to increased retirement rates and expansion in areas like the Middle and Far East.”

The statement “conveyed a sense of urgency and suggested that the need for pilots was immediate”, the authority said.

“We noted that the ad explained that was due to increased retirement rates and airline expansion in the Middle and Far East, but we also noted we had not seen evidence to demonstrate that.

“We noted that the PTC referred to various independent industry reports that they believed showed that there would be a worldwide demand for 300,000 extra pilots over the next 20 years, as well as the order projections from Boeing.”

The authority said because it had not seen the evidence it concluded the claim was misleading.

It ruled the advertorial in its form at that time should not appear again.

For more on this story, see FIT kills contract with Irish flight school.

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