Sector Business services
Location Southampton, UK
Investment type Buyout
Date of exit May 2015
Investment status Realised
Return 3.0x; 46% IRR

CTC Aviation Group

The company

Established in 1995 by a founding team of professional pilots, CTC Aviation operates globally and is one of the world’s largest independent airline pilot training and resourcing companies. It provides fully integrated training for all stages of pilot’s development; from entry-level cadet training through to the highest level, tailored professional development programmes for pilots as they progress through the ranks.

CTC Aviation annually trains and recruits around of 3,000 newly qualified and experienced pilots for approximately 50 customers such as British Airways, The Jetstar Group. Qatar Airiways, Virgin Atlantic, and easyJet. Uniquely, the company actively facilitates employment opportunities for graduates of its world renowned CTC WINGS airline pilot career programme maintaining an unrivalled 98% graduate placement record with a total of 16 Partner airlines.

Before Inflexion’s investment in CTC, we had preconceived ideas about private equity but our experience has been remarkably different. Our partnership with Inflexion was one of support, presenting us with the right amount of challenge coupled with the investment we needed to achieve our ambitious growth. We have enjoyed a prosperous time with Inflexion. Rob Clarke, CEO, CTC Aviation

Growth strategy

CTC Aviation was looking for an investor to partner with its next stage of international growth, providing capital for expansion and investment, alongside enabling the founder to transition management of the company to the executive team.

We've trained over 12,000 pilots for around 50 airlines worldwide. Rob Clarke
CEO, CTC Aviation

The Inflexion difference

We were immediately excited by the ambition and entrepreneurial flair of CTC Aviation’s management team, and recognised the challenges and constraints they faced. Through our investment we enabled the company founder to transition the management and ownership of the business to the core management team, which resulted in Rob Clarke being appointed CEO.

During our partnership, we oversaw multiple new long-term agreements with world-class partner airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Oman Air, Dragonair and Wizz Air as well as gaining further prestigious regulatory approvals to expand into new territories in Asia and the Gulf region. Inflexion supported a substantial increase in training capacity and customer service infrastructure, overseeing the opening of new Crew Training Centres in both the UK and US, requiring investment in new flight simulators and aircraft; bringing the total number of centres to seven worldwide. We also supported investment into new trainee accommodation in New Zealand.

We supported management’s work with a number of airlines and banks to make training more widely accessible to potential pilots. CTC established a new sponsored training initiative with its longest and most established customer airline easyJet, to offer the UK’s first airline-supported degree for airline pilots in partnership with Middlesex University. CTC Aviation also has an exclusive agreement with BA to deliver Airbus A320 conversion training for newly qualified and experienced pilots. BA has entrusted CTC Aviation to provide airline pilot training for over 20 years, however this is the first time the flagship airline has committed to an exclusive partnership with an independent training provider.

Under our ownership, CTC Aviation secured new customer wins and prestigious regulatory approvals in new territories such as Asia and the Gulf region, growing in scale and reach. We are proud of CTC Aviation’s exceptional performance under our ownership. The business boasts a truly unrivalled customer base and is poised to continue its global expansion. We wish the team every success in the future.