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New business and education alliance helps make Finland a leader in aviation training

Published on 1.11.2019
Tampere Universities
Industry professor Mika Grundström ja Pirkanmaan liiton innovaatio- ja tulevaisuusjohtaja Päivi MyllykangasThe powerhouses of the alliance, Industry Professor Mika Grundström from Tampere University and Director, Innovation and Foresight Päivi Myllykangs from the Council of the Pirkanmaa Region.
Leading aviation experts in Finland have established a globally unique partner alliance, AiRRhow, with the aim of making Finland a leader in aviation education and training.

With the alliance, Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences are launching Finland’s first export project for higher education in aviation. The goal is to offer education and training to students from outside Finland and Europe for a fee.

In the AiRRhow launching event, co-operation between different actors was highlighted as a particular strength. President Mari Walls from Tampere University emphasised strong partnerships and said that the alliance furthers the reform of the entire higher education field. The participation in AiRRhow exemplifies the university community’s wish to develop our operations with the help of, for example, alliances, living lab concepts and innovation platforms.

“The alliance gathers together expertise to develop sustainable traffic solutions that make use of artificial intelligence and digitalisation. Understanding human actions is also as important,” Walls said in her speech.

There is a great demand for interdisciplinary cooperation such as the AiRRhow alliance because of the tremendous growth expected in air travel. In the next 20 years, the number of passenger aeroplanes worldwide is forecast to double to approximately 48,000 and passenger volumes are expected to exceed eight billion. The industry has set ambitious targets to ensure sustainability, and climate change has increased the pressure to make aviation eco-friendlier. Urgent action is needed.

The AiRRhow network aims to develop education and training programmes as well as export products concerning aviation, mobility and their management.

“The alliance is creating solutions and training top professionals to help make aviation a smooth, safe and green part of future mobility,” says Industry Professor Mika Grundström from Tampere University.

In addition to Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences, other partners committed to developing the AiRRhow alliance include the Council of Tampere Region, Business Tampere, the municipality of Pirkkala, and Finavia. The Satakunta Air Command is also among the supporters of the project.

The wider network further includes Patria Pilot Training Oy; Sitowise Oy, a provider of built environment services from planning to expert and digital services; the air navigation service specialist ANS Finland; and Insta Oy with expertise in unmanned aviation and drone training.

Centre of expertise in civil aviation planned in Africa

The first AiRRhow projects will be launched this autumn, as Patria Pilot Training will provide pilot training for Turkish Airlines. The alliance is also engaged in negotiations about establishing a centre for expertise in civil aviation in Namibia.

“There is a growing demand for aviation know-how in Africa, and most professionals are trained outside the continent. We know that air travel in the region will continue to grow because the population of southern Africa will double by 2050. In addition to education and training, Finnish operators can offer technological and environmental know-how as well as expertise in infrastructures, building and logistics,” says Timo Palander, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Namibia and the representative of the Finnish entrepreneur organisation Suomen Yrittäjät in the Development Policy Committee appointed by the Finnish Government.

Piloting education exports

The alliance aims to start offering aviation education and training in the next few years. Studies integrated in pilot training will be offered by 2025. The alliance plans to launch the collaboration between Patria Pilot Training and the universities next year in the form of a study programme subject to a fee in which students will be able to take courses at Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
“Extensive university-level aviation training provided in close collaboration with businesses is a global rarity, even though there is clear demand for such programmes. This is our asset. We can offer pioneering education and training that serve the entire aviation industry,” says Stephen Wright, an internationally esteemed aviation expert and the new industry professor in aeronautical engineering at Tampere University

“The aviation industry is undergoing a great transformation, so innovative solutions and pioneering spirit are needed. The digital transformation and growing use of unmanned aircraft are strongly transforming the industry. Responding to these trends is the governing idea of our education and training and the R&D projects of AiRRhow business partners,” says Päivi Myllykangas, director for innovation and foresight at the Council of Tampere Region.

For further information, please contact:

Mika Grundström, Industry Professor
Tampere University
Tel. +358 50 554 2343
mika.grundstrom [at]

Päivi Myllykangas, Director, Innovation and Foresight
The Council of Tampere Region
Tel. +358 40 743 6417
paivi.myllykangas [at]

Partners developing the AiRRhow aviation alliance:

-    The Council of Tampere Region
-    Business Tampere
-    City of Tampere
-    Municipality of Pirkkala
-    Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry
-    Tampere University
-    Tampere University of Applied Sciences
-    Tampere Vocational College Tredu
-    Finavia Corporation
-    Patria Pilot Training Oy
-    Sitowise Oy
-    Insta Group Oy
-    Air Navigation Services Finland Ltd (ANS Finland)
-    FinnHEMS Oy
-    Satakunta Air Command


Allianssin lanseeraus Pirkkalassa
The Alliance was launched in the hangar where aircraft maintenance technicians are trained at Tampere Vocational College Tredu,


Photos: Jonne Renvall