Why choose Airways Aviation Academy?

Airways Aviation Academy is the largest privately owned multidisciplinary aviation school in Europe and one of very few in the world offering European Certified Courses in Pilot Training, Aircraft Engineering, Cabin Crew Training and Ground Handling. Located in Montpellier in the beautiful South of France, we collaborate closely with our students and Aviation industry partners to achieve the maximum outcome.

Our Training

For more than 28 years, the ESMA Aviation Academy has been one of the main multidisciplinary aeronautical schools in Europe. We offer training in the major aviation sectors:

Our exceptional environment

Located by the Mediterranean sea, Airways Aviation Academy enjoys a near perfect climate to fly, with approximately 300 days of sunshine per year.
Montpellier is currently the 8th French largest city in terms of population, and the 3rd largest Mediterranean city after Marseille and Nice.
Montpellier remains a very attractive location for its quality of life, its culture, and the Mediterranean climate. It also has one of the most fastest growth rates in France, in terms of its economy and demography.
With over 70 000 students, it is also the city with the highest number of students per capita and 7th in the university placings in France.
40 % of students come from other regions of France and 17 % of all students are from abroad giving Montpellier an attractive social diversity rewarding to students and staff alike.

Our history


ESMA Aviation Academy – is set up by the Air Litoral as a subsidary, to satisfy the Airlines needs as well as for the needs of the broader aeronautic market demand.

2001 – 2002

Relocation of the ESMA Campus into the Montpellier Airport aviation zone which includes new buildings, operational infrastructure, dedicated private parking for planes along with specialised training facilities.


New partnership are signed with major European Aircraft Manufacturers : Airbus and ATR. First group of pilot trainees to be trained over a 4-year period. Delivery of the first DIAMOND aircraft as per TB9 and TB20-aircraft renewal program.


Beginning of the 400-Airbus-pilot-training program to run over a 3-year period


Beginning of the Airbus engineering program. De Heerd Investments Ltd becomes the new owner of ESMA Aviation Academy. The group announces it will develop ESMA at the international level, expand the fleet and improve the infrastructure.


3-year extension of the Airbus contract for the A 320 / A 330 pilot trainings. Signature of the agreement on the strategic partnership between Airbus and ESMA.



ESMA sets-up of a Joint-Venture with Vietnam Airlines (Hanoi, Vietnam) and Hainan Airlines (4th biggest Chinese Airline – headquarters based in Hainan Island) and qualifies for the CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) approval certificate for the pilot training. Signature of a partnership agreement with Vietnam Airlines for a pilot training. Fleet increase as ESMA Aviation Academy becomes the owner / operator of one of the largest DIAMOND Aircraft fleet in Europe. The academy becomes recognised as the leading Ab-initio aeronautical training in France.


Agreement signed for on a 5-year partnership with the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC). Launch of the European ab-initio License in aircraft maintenance B1 / B2 in order to satisfy the international demand for MRO (Maintenance Repair Organisation).


First training commences for China United Airlines & the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) pilots.


Airways Airways Aviation acquires ESMA and commences the integration of ESMA into the Airways Aviation Group. Airways Aviation is now the owner / operator of the largest DIAMOND Aircraft fleet in Europe and one of the largest Diamond fleets in the world. Airways Aviation Academy incorporating ESMA is also the largest and most important aviation academy of its kind in Europe and provides courses in Pilot Training, Aircraft Maintenance, Cabin Crew Training and Ground Handling. Located at the Montpellier Mediterranean Airport and with private aircraft fleet parking for 20 aircraft along with exclusive runway access, the Airways Aviation / ESMA Academy occupies in excess of 11.000 sq/m indoor facilities, divided into various areas including Administration | Classrooms | Simulators Hall | Cabin Crew Hall | Part 145 & 147 Workshops | Lecture Halls | AeroCampus – Student Accommodation. There is also a further dedicated external area in excess of 30,000 sq/m. Airways Aviation – ESMA Montpellier Academy has more than 70 full time and 10 part time faculty members and a capacity to train over 1,000 students n four major aviation training fields at this location annually.