The number of private helicopter licenses Ireland issued has risen 400 percent in the past 10 years, according to numerous reports from the nation.
In January, the Irish Aviation Authority said, 199 people held private pilot licenses for helicopters. In 1999, 51 people held such licenses. According to the report, there also has been a 150 percent rise in the number of commercial helicopter pilot licenses; in January there were 91.
According to the helicopter flight school European Helicopter Academy, the increase is a result of a rising number of business people seeking to fly themselves to meetings in Ireland and abroad. It said it also has seen a 150 percent increase in commercial helicopter pilot licenses since 1999, which it said is a reflection of the growing demand for pilots of privately chartered helicopters for business and pleasure. Chartering a helicopter has become increasingly popular, it said.
"Time is money in the modern business world and the need to get from A to B as quickly as possible has attracted great interest in helicopter flight from both private individuals and commercial organizations," said David Lehane, owner of the academy, which is based in Weston Executive Airport in Dublin. "Helicopters are fast becoming the preferred method of travel for many."