Disclaimer: I have written this post to provide a factual insight into the recent history of CTC, it's present direction under new ownership and how this impacts cadets. Any claims have backed up with links to relevant sources and airline partner information is already public knowledge. This posts contents may change as more information becomes known over the next few weeks. Where changes are made, inaccuracies will be left present, albeit stricken-through.
Prior to mid-2015, CTC Aviation was a privately owned business which had received significant investment rounds from Inflexion Private Equity Partners which helped CTC Aviation in achieving their vision for the growth of the business. The FlyBe, Qatar, easyJet and Virgin MPLs commenced, new training centres opened in Phoenix and Coventry, PadPilot ATPL iBooks became standard issue for cadets, Thomas Cook, Norwegian, AirTanker, Aegean and Aurigny took from the hold-pool, new simulators were delivered, BA and Norwegian selected CTC for type-ratings and WizzAir started an Integrated ATPL course. That's a lot of stuff happening in a short space of time and it should come as no surprise that it piqued the interest of larger organisations as it continued to grow.
In mid-2015 CTC Aviation were acquired by and became a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. based electronics and communications company L3 Technologies (L3). The sale provided Inflexion with a 300% return on their investment proving how successful CTC Aviation had become. Whilst you might not have necessarily heard of them before - as i sure hadn't until recently - you may have seen the L3 logo on scanners and metal detectors as you clear security at many international airports. They've certainly got their fingers in many pies. I suppose you could consider them a bit like the Unilever of the aviation world.
When they're not making radios, radars, scanners etc L3 are also manufacturers of full-motion flight simulators for commercial pilot training. In fact, their L3-Link simulators can even be found at CTC Aviation in Southampton (as pictured). In wanting to expand even further into the commercial aviation training market, L3 claimed the acquisition of CTC Aviation would enable the provision of a complete end-to-end airline training proposition. Both companies were to retain their respective brands but would align their working relationships and it wasn't too long before L3-Link began providing simulator time for the provision of cadet type-ratings.
Mid-2016 brought the subsequent acquisition of U.S. based AeroSim Technologies & Aerosim Flight Academy. Aerosim, alongside CTC Aviation and L3-Link, would establish the 'Commercial Training Solutions' arm of L3 Technologies. With two training organisations in the portfolio, L3 had inherited the ability to deliver both EASA and FAA courses.
Having seen this type of multi-company acquisition before with the former Orange & T-Mobile brands, I've come to learn that it doesn't make that much business sense retaining multiple brands for that long, it's just far too costly and a bit of an admin headache. Therefore, as I anticipated, L3 announced at the World Aviation Training Conference on the 2nd May 2017 that all three businesses would roll-up to become 'L3 Commercial Training Solutions'. CTC Aviation & Aerosim are to form the airline training part of the business titled L3-CTS Airline Academy. The new names are a bit of mouthful I'll admit, but I imagine over time it'll just be known as some abbreviation such as L3-CTS, or maybe just L3 Airline Academy - who knows!
What does this mean for us as cadets?
In the internal briefing we were given in mid-April there were no plans to alter the way in which the school will go about delivering training. The main changes we were told of, or can be implied (as indicated by an asterisk) include:
We were advised that some changes we will notice immediately, with the remainder of the process taking upto 18 months to complete in its entirety. Uniform wise, it was also said that cadets currently in the process might retain their CTC Aviation uniform with newer CPs being provided the L3 branded variants either once finalised or once existing CTC Aviation stocks run out.
What about airlines etc, what do they think?
Perhaps the best question of them all really as it's ultimately the airlines we all want to end up with. I can't really comment on this to be fair as I don't know what they truly think. However, L3 is quite a well regarded brand in the sector and so long as training remains to the standard that the airlines have come to expect under CTC Aviation, then I can't see this rebrand causing too much of an issue. If i can be allowed to speculate, then L3's brand might well help strengthen the brand overseas and perhaps see airlines that the former L3-Link had worked with start looking at the Airline Academy side of things in respect of employment - who knows! Regardless of all of this though, it will be a great shame to see the CTC Aviation name disappear but hey, that's just business.
Hopefully this post has helped you to understand the up and coming changes and, as far as I'm concerned, everything seems to be business as usual. As an organisation L3 has had their grip on CTC Aviation since 2015 and bar the odd change here and there since I've started there hasn't been anything drastic occur. It'll take some time for trainees and alike to get used to saying L3 in place of CTC Aviation, but apart from that we shall just have to see what the future holds.
If you're uncertain on what this means for you as a potential trainee then a visit to a post-announcement open day probably isn't a bad idea!
All the best,