PLANNING is under way to build a flight school at Glen Innes airport after the project was approved late last year.
Australian Wings Academy (AWA) – which will be a subsidiary of Australian Asia Flight Training, the proponent of the development – hopes to take the first students early to mid-2014.
The academy will have up to 300 twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms, full dining facilities, operations and administration facilities, computer-aided classrooms, a gym, games room, sports complex, swimming pool, prayer room, maintenance hangars and hardstand for up to 40 aircraft.
It will be built in four stages over five years, initially accommodating 200 students and expanding to 600 students, both flying and in other aviation-related industries.
AWA says extensive English training will also be offered, because most students will likely come from a non-English-speaking background.
Director Kingsley Munday said Glen Innes’s weather allowed for more than 350 days of uninterrupted flying a year.
The airport was located close to controlled airspace to allow instrument training, he said, but had its own training area within unrestricted airspace to 10,000 feet.
Managing director Phil Sweeney said student pilots would gain tertiary-level skills through a vocational training program that would be delivered in partnership with a university.
Mr Sweeney said the University of New England was a likely contender and talks were under way.