LORD John Stevens of Kirkwhelpington has partnered with a North-East pilot to launch their own in-flight training school.

The North-East Flight Academy, based at Newcastle International Airport, has been financed by Lord Stevens and Ben Harrison (25) from Whitley Bay who will run the academy as full-time chief executive.

A keen pilot himself, Lord Stevens is following in the footsteps of his father, Steve, who was the chairman and managing director of BKS Air Transport, the UK’s oldest and largest domestic carrier that flew charters and freight since 1953.

Lord Stevens has now invested a substantial amount in aircraft and facilities to continue the legacy of operating a flying school out of Newcastle airport since this date.

The North-East Flight Academy will offer professional one-to-one flight training tailored around each individual student, whether they wish to fly for pleasure or become a fully qualified pilot.

Lord Stevens said: “I have been around aircraft from as long as I can remember. My father Steve was one of the founders of BKS Transport, which initially flew charters and freight until they were granted permission to operate schedule services.

“It then became BKS Air Transport in 1953 and carried around a million passengers a year.”

“It is with my father in mind, and my personal passion for flying and operating aircraft that I have invested so wholeheartedly in this venture and am continuing with my father’s legacy.

“I am proud to partner with Ben, who at such a young age as already shown such commitment and skill to this career and I’m sure he will make this an incredibly successful business.”

Chief executive Ben initially trained at Northumbria Flying School and then completed his advanced pilot instructor course at Dundee Tayside Aviation.

The business has appointed seven instructors, two of whom are former airline captains who will bring their knowledge and expertise to the business.

Within the next six months the business aims to extend into commercial training and is already in talks with two large and commercial in flight training schools in the UK.

For more information email the North East Flight Academy on info@northeastflightacademy.co.uk