A DORSET company which is one of the world’s leading trainers of airline pilots is expanding into America.

CTC Aviation is launching a new training centre in Arizona as it gears up to deal with a worldwide shortage of pilots.

It is teaming with Lufthansa Flight Training to launch the centre at Phoenix Goodyear Airport.

CTC, which works with more than 50 airlines worldwide, is investing 7million US dollars in equipping the new centre, which will be able to take up to 200 trainee pilots a year.

It says the industry is facing a shortage of 235,000 pilots in the coming decade. The company believes economic recovery in North America will fuel renewed demand for crew, while new Federal Aviation Administration legislation requires more specialist training for all pilots.

Rob Clarke, group CEO of CTC Aviation, which is based at Bournemouth Airport, said: “The airline industry has been predicting an impending pilot shortage for some time now and the world’s airlines require pilots of all experience levels to help crew their expanding fleets.”

He said the company had experienced an “unprecedented” rise in demand for its graduates.

“North America is a very vibrant and evolving market as well as being the biggest in the world, so having a strong presence here is a significant development for us and with a proven and well respected model, we are confident that it will be well received,” he added.

Trainees at CTC’s Crew Training Centre – Phoenix will work alongside students of the Airline Training Centre Arizona (ATCA), a Lutfhansa Flight Training company. Cadets will enjoy extensive sports and leisure facilities at the airfield campus and the first course is due to start in April.

CTC is one of the UK’s top companies when measured by overseas sales growth and currently trains around 2,000 pilots a year.

Between 2010 and 2012, its international revenues grew from £622,000 to more than £4million.

As well as training pilots for client airlines in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the American base will help the company focus on the opportunities afforded by the recovery in North America.

It will also provide better access to the high-growth markets of South America.

Mr Clarke added: “We are currently exploring a number of new opportunities globally that enable us to increase our capacity. “As more airlines are asking us to develop tailored cadet programmes utilising our existing CTC Wings programme as a blueprint, we have identified the opportunity for us to broaden our world-wide presence and deliver our innovative training skills to new clients.”

CTC Aviation has a careers event on Saturday February 15 at its Southampton facilities. Anyone wishing to attend needs to register first at ctcaviation.com