Three flight schools in the Atlanta, Georgia, area have reportedly shut down amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, though that version of the story is not the sole take on it.
The closing of Falcon Aviation Academy flight training programs in Newnan, Peachtree City and Athens, was reported by the Newnan Times-Herald today. The story by Sarah Fay Campbell reports that the program closings “appear to connected to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.” The students were part of a December class of pilot students who had traveled to the United States to train for careers as pilots in China. There are no reports of any cases of the virus related to the suspension of the training classes.
While the suspensions affected mostly Chinese flight students, numerous instructors were also laid off. One report estimated that around 90% of the company’s employees, said to number around 300, were let go by the company.
While Falcon Aviation Academy did not return our request for comment, it has been widely reported that flight activity in China has been dramatically reduced as the country tries to stop the spread of the disease. According to reports in several mainstream news outlets, China-based airlines are furloughing thousands of pilots in the wake of the air travel partial shutdown, hence the speculation that the sponsoring Chinese companies might have pulled the plug on the training at the Falcon locations in the Atlanta area.
It has been a bad past few weeks for the company. Earlier this month former Falcon Aviation Academy CEO Raymond Sluk died along with three other people in the crash of a Citation 501 after takeoff from Atlanta’s Falcon Field in wintery weather conditions.
Subscribe today to Plane & Pilot magazine for industry news, reviews and much more delivered straight to you!