The North American Institute of Aviation (NAIA) located in Conway/Horry County Airport, South Carolina, has ceased flight training “temporarily,” according to the school.
Arrangements, pending U.S. State Department approval, have been made for nearly 30 students from Sweden, Norway, and Finland to attend the Pelican Flight Training Center in Pembroke Pines (Miami area), Florida. If the State Department approves the transfer of the students, Pelican will also take the 20 leased Cessna 172s and 152s once used by NAIA.
One student told MyrtleBeachOnline.com that he stands to lose $18,000 of unused tuition and flight expenses. The student, Steve Morris, 33, of Charlotte, N.C., said he was told there is no information on refunding his deposit. The news service further reported there are no arrangements to transfer American students to another school.
The company is under the same ownership as Rivertown, the FBO at Conway. Company president Benjamin J. Creel announced the closing September 5 with this announcement: “The North American Institute of Aviation of South Carolina, Inc., located at the Conway/Horry County Airport, regrets to announce a significant layoff of its staff members effective September 5, 2008. This layoff will result in the cessation of most training and flight activities conducted by the Institute. It will not result in the closure of North American Institute of Aviation, Conway/Horry County Airport, or the delivery of fuel and maintenance services to aircraft based at Conway/Horry County Airport or to transient aircraft.” Creel could not be contacted.