“This facility is unique also internationally, as nowhere else are the physiological effects of flying studied in such a complex way,” emphasised Zoltán Szilvássy, rector.
The project, which required a total investment of approximately 5 billion HUF, is one of its kind in the world as it combines university-level pilot training and the functions of laboratory research and small-series pharmaceutical production satisfying special healthcare needs.
With their innovative concept, the designers of the centre secured EU funding in the amount of approximately 3.5 billion HUF, as a result of which an institution incomparable with any other in Europe in terms of its complexity was created. The explosive development of commercial aviation demands an increasing number of highly trained professionals. This is the challenge that the international pilot training programme launched with the cooperation of Pharma-Flight Kft. and the University of Debrecen aims to respond to. Beginning next year, Pharma-Flight will operate as an off-site department of the university.
Pharma-Flight International Scientific and Service Centre, completed with the support of the EU in record time, was officially opened by Miklós Seszták, minister of national development, in the presence of Lajos Kósa, MP and floor leader for the ruling Fidesz party, László Papp, mayor, and Zoltán Szilvássy, rector.
As Seszták pointed out, the new research and service centre will work in one of the highly demanded areas of research and development; further, it will create new jobs, and reinforce the role of Debrecen, the second largest city in Hungary, in the national economy. The minister also added that by 2020 the government plans to channel approximately 700 billion HUF of EU grants into innovation.
Zoltán Szilvássy, the rector of the university underlined the fact that this investment could not have been realised without the city, the university and the industry stakeholders joining forces, since there is a need for a market, suitable infrastructure and professionals for such a development.
“Aviation health is a separate topic in every medical specialization from internal medicine to orthopaedic surgery, but no-one deals with it in its complexity. We know what medicines passengers need to take in case of certain illnesses before they fly, but no systematic, scientific-level, clinical studies have been carried out for flight crews. These are the kind of studies this centre will engage in,” explained Szilvássy.
The internationally unique centre will target a special market niche, which means a huge breakout opportunity, the rector added.
Pharmaceutical research jointly carried out with the University of Debrecen will contribute to the creation of Hungarian scientific results in the fields of exploring the effects of active agents on flight crews, while the production capacity will subsequently make it possible to provide pilots with special medicines. The world-class health equipment and instruments of Pharma-Flight will also allow a more efficient assessment of job-related aptitude and fitness in other areas of transport, and may help in the provision of the most suitable healthcare and professional rehabilitation services to employees.
Lajos Kósa, MP and the floor leader of Fidesz emphasised that Pharma-Flight Kft. has set research objectives and training directions that make this facility in Debrecen one of the most interesting research centres of the country. Its creation was a pioneering effort, as Hungarian pilot training, which had been formerly esteemed highly, was successfully recreated after the bankruptcy of MALÉV and brought recognition of Hungarian aviation expertise.
László Papp, mayor of Debrecen, said that Debrecen International Airport is the region’s most dynamically developing regional ariport, where not only passenger tranport, but also cargo, education and training, innovation and research are cornerstones to build upon. With its innovation and training activities, Pharma-Flight will lend a unique character to the airport of Debrecen, which none of the large airports of the world currently possess.
Gyula Győri, the initiator of the research and service centre and the Pharma-Flight programme, mentioned in his speech that the experts of the university and the centre developed the training materials jointly. Part of the training is practice on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft simulators.
György Czirják, the managing director of the company, emphasised the significance of the fact that the healthcare centre operated by Pharma-Flight is able to perform the aviation-related and other mandatory health and other tests, as a result of which the safety of air traffic can be enhanced. The same capacities can also contribute to the fast, accurate and cost-efficient examination of commercial heavy goods and bus drivers, as well as other fields of professional competences.
More pictures of the event can be found in the photoalbum.