About 60 Chinese student pilots face an uncertain future after the abrupt closure of a London, Ontario flight school that took their $55,000 tuition up front and was evicted from its facilities for non-payment of rent before training was complete. The London Free Press says some of the students are also facing eviction from their apartments because accommodation was included in the fee paid to Maylan Flight Academy, which was forced from its premises more than a month ago. The students are still flying. They were transferred to another school at the London Airport and so far their lessons have been covered by Maylan. But the other school, Blue Bird Flight Academy, trains only private pilots and the Chinese students were promised multi-IFR tickets.
Maylan has not declared bankruptcy and is still considered solvent but its 15 aircraft have been secured and an interim receiver has been named to try to sort out the financial mess. In the meantime, students are worried the huge financial investment, often raised through contributions from family and friends, has been lost. "It's big money in China," said 23-year-old Bravo Chen, one of the students. Maylan is owned by Chinese-Canadian businessman Davi Joe. Those interviewed by the Free Press said they've had no recent contact with Joe and the newspaper was also not able to reach him. Tom Lawson, who owns the Maylan building and sold a 60-percent stake in his business, Empire Aviation, to Joe to start Maylan, told the newspaper there is concern for the students. "We wanted to protect the students, we wanted the business to succeed," he said.