The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Former Glasgow Prestwick Airport worker
qualifies as Captain with Ryanair

By: Neil Richardson

A FORMER Glasgow Prestwick Airport worker who started out as a check-in agent is now flying passengers all over Europe as a Captain with Ryanair.

[Pictured: Jonathan McCoy shows off the four stripes worn by airline Captains. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

Jonathan McCoy was promoted to the rank of Captain earlier this month and took control of his first flight as aircraft commander on Monday 25 August when he made the return journey from Prestwick to Murcia in southern Spain.

It was a double celebration for the 27-year-old, as the day also marked his first wedding anniversary. Jonathan’s wife Pauline works for Ryanair as a senior flight attendant.

Born in Belfast, Jonathan moved to Troon when he was four and has lived there ever since, attending Struthers Primary and Marr College before joining the airport.

[Pictured: Jonathan, second on the left, with former Prestwick Airport Dispatch colleagues Kenny Bryden, Alan Blackwood and Scott Burnside.]

He is believed to be the first person to achieve Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) qualifications and subsequently achieve the rank of Captain while in continuous employment at Prestwick, first for the airport itself and then Ryanair.

Starting as a check-in agent in the year 2000, Jonathan moved to the dispatch team a couple of years later and describes the airport as “an excellent way in”.

He continued: “The reason I joined was basically to get some money together to pay for my flying. It worked out really well.”

During this period he worked huge amounts of overtime in order to pay for the necessary flying hours, done through Prestwick Flying Club, and examinations which took place in Bristol.

Jonathan joined Ryanair in May 2005 as a First Officer and a year later was promoted to Senior First Officer. More in-house command training followed and he was formally appointed as a Captain on 11 August.

His new status means he is charged with the safety of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by Ryanair, as well as the safety of his crew and passengers during flights.

It is rare for pilots to be immediately stationed at their ‘home’ base, but Jonathan is delighted he is working close to home at Prestwick.

He said: “It’s great being based here at Prestwick because I know everyone here and it’s obviously handy for me living in Troon. Getting to visit other airports is also very enjoyable and every day in this job throws up a new challenge.”

Jonathan says he enjoys working for Ryanair and likes their ‘home every night’ policy: “A lot of pilots choose to work for long haul airlines and effectively spend their whole life living out of a suitcase.

“We always come back to home base at night and it’s very rare that we might have to stay overnight somewhere because of a technical problem as the aircraft Ryanair use are very reliable.”

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell commented: “This is a great success story, and Jonathan deserves a lot of credit for reaching this stage of his career in such a short space of time and at a relatively young age.

“Jonathan is one of many former Glasgow Prestwick employees who have
successfully made the move into other sectors of the industry, and we are pleased that his connection with the airport will remain while he is based here.”

• Ryanair currently bases five Boeing 737-800 aircraft at Glasgow Prestwick Airport and offers low cost flights to more than 25 European destinations.
• Later this year they will launch new ‘winter sun’ services to Faro, Malaga and Tenerife.
• The airport handled 2.4 million passengers and 32,000 tonnes of freight in the last financial year.


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