Dubbo’s second and final chance to secure a Qantas regional pilot academy remains alive as the city tries to edge out another seven hopefuls.
The city is competing with other centres like Tamworth for the second air training base.
Mayor Ben Shields reports Dubbo Regional Council is “vigorously chasing” the second training base, one month after the airline chose Toowoomba as the home of its first new facility.
Cr Shields conceded the city’s bid “could not quite match” the level of investment put forward by the winning proposal from southern Queensland.
As Qantas made the announcement on September 27, it reported the investment in new infrastructure at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport was estimated at $35 million, “with the majority of the funding contributed from private sector partners”.
Cr Shields said on Monday the council, the owner of Dubbo Regional City Airport, “simply [did not] have a spare $35 million floating around”.
But the mayor called Toowoomba “a unique case” and regarded the contest for the second pilot academy as “more of an even game”.
“Now all three of those airports are owned by their council and therefore are a public sector ownership and realistically we couldn’t put the level of investment in, but that also means all competitors are that way as well,” he said.
The mayor continued to promote the council’s bid, citing its flying days, relationships with western ports and the presence of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and other services among its strengths.
“Everything points to Dubbo for the Qantas academy to be located in Dubbo, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“Tamworth and Wagga just simply have got nothing on us when it comes to the offering of state-of-the-art facilities.
“I’ve got to point out too, what we’re proposing is brand-new facilities as opposed to old second-hand facilities some other centres are offering.”
Qantas said last month a decision on the second site would be made before the end of the year.