Ryanair has invested €50m in a new training centre in north Dublin as part of plans to recruit and train 5,000 new pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground staff over the next five years across Europe.
The facility contains three full motion simulators as well as two fixed base simulators.
The centre also contains 15 classroom, five pilot briefing rooms, a cabin crew training and emergency evacuation device, as well as a specialist cabin fire training centre.
Ryanair says it will use the centre to help it to recruit and train over 5,000 new pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground operations professionals over the next 5 years.
The airline says it will need the personnel to operate the 210 new Boeing 737 aircraft that it has ordered.
The centre will be operated by Airline Flight Academy, which will become the exclusive training partner for Ryanair cadets.
"Ryanair will create over 5,000 new jobs thanks to the expansion of our Boeing 737 fleet, with 210 MAX Gamechangers to be delivered over the next 5 years which will enable Ryanair to grow to carry 200m passengers p.a. by 2025," said Eddie Wilson, Ryanair CEO.
Speaking at the launch event, Mr Wilson said Ryanair is the only airline growing at any scale at the moment in Europe.
He said short haul capacity is due to reduce by 20% next year due to bankruptcies and airlines getting smaller, but Ryanair is the exception to that.
He said today's announcement isn't just about an airline, it is also about infrastructure because Ireland is an island economy.
"Sometimes we take that connectivity for granted," he said.
AFA has worked with Ryanair for some time.
"We are excited to be chosen to operate and run this new €50m Aviation Training Centre in Santry, and have committed to delivering Ryanair over 5,000 highly trained pilots, cabin crew, engineers, and ground ops professionals using these state of the art facilities in Santry," said AFA Director, Francis Farrell.
"Ireland has always been a centre for high quality aviation professionals and AFA's agreement with Ryanair will create 5,000 new jobs, both here in Ireland and across Europe as Ryanair continues to recover and grow post Covid."
The development was also welcomed by the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar.
"After what has been an incredibly difficult 18 months, today’s announcement is a real vote of confidence in the airline industry as it rebuilds after the pandemic," said Mr Varadkar.
The Tanaiste said the Government supports the aviation sector and wants to see it rebound, hopefully in the next year or so.
"We value the importance of aviation to our economy," he said.
He added that the Government could do more to help the sector, including helping airports through direct funding, extending the wage subsidy scheme which it will be examining in the budget, through incentives, other capital grants and the easing of travel restrictions.