Qantas pilot academy to be split across two locations

TAKING OFF: Qantas will announce the winning locations in coming weeks.
TAKING OFF: Qantas will announce the winning locations in coming weeks.

TAMWORTH is still in the mix to land Qantas’ regional pilot academy as the carrier announces the new facility will be split across two locations.

The Qantas Group confirmed it would open its pilot academy across two locations in regional Australia to meet anticipated demand.

The academy is part of the Qantas Group’s plans to build a long-term talent pipeline for its airlines and the broader industry to meet the increasing need for skilled aviators.

Plans for the academy were announced in February this year and it’s expected the first site will be operational during 2019.

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Nine regional cities across Australia – Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth, Toowoomba and Wagga Wagga – have been shortlisted.

A decision on both sites will be announced in coming weeks.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said that initial scoping had shown that two locations would be needed to reach the Academy’s potential.

“We’re aiming to train up to 100 pilots in year one but we expect this to grow to as many as 500 a year and that can only be achieved if we have more than one location,” Mr Joyce said.

“Adding up to 250 students plus instructors and support staff to any of these places needs the right infrastructure at airports, but also in the towns themselves.

“The Academy represents a commercial opportunity for Qantas, but it’s also important for the future of Australian aviation.

We expect that pilots completing their training with the Academy could fly for other airlines, the defence force or services like the Royal Flying Doctors.”

Mr Joyce said the Qantas team involved in selecting the locations had been impressed at the community support for the investment across Australia.

“Our team has travelled across the country to meet with community leaders, airport operators and local suppliers in each of the nine shortlisted locations,” Mr Joyce said.

“We’ve been really impressed with the enthusiasm from each of the shortlisted cities. It’s been fantastic. And it’s reflected in the levels of support put forward by governments, councils and the private sector.

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There’s a lot of excitement about using the Academy to leverage more jobs and investment for the region. We really appreciate the time and effort they’ve put in to the bids.”

The Academy’s second site is expected to be operational in 2020. The total initial investment of $20 million is unchanged, reflecting the levels of third party support.

Almost 17,000 people have so far registered their interest in the Academy via qantas.com/pilotacademy.

The national carrier is encouraging more women to consider a career in aviation, which globally stands at just three per cent.

To date, around 16 per cent of people registering interest in the Academy are female.

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