TAMWORTH Regional Council has abandoned plans for a Qantas pilot academy, announcing its partnering with Virgin Australia to create a new training centre in the city.
Council made the announcement on Wednesday morning at a press conference in the city, labelling it as a ‘world-class’ pilot training centre to be established in Tamworth.
It comes after council voted in a closed doors meeting on Tuesday night to join with Virgin, as the preferred airline to set-up shop for the training base at the Tamworth Airport.
“We are delighted to have been chosen by Tamworth Regional Council, and for the Virgin Australia Group to establish an Aviation Centre of Excellence,” Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director John Borghetti said on Wednesday.
“Our industry is currently facing a global pilot shortage and this world-class facility will develop a pipeline of skilled pilots funnelling into the Virgin Australia Group and other airlines around the world.”
Tamworth Regional Council Mayor Cr Col Murray said: “Few regional airports boast facilities the calibre of those in Tamworth so we have been in the very fortunate position of attracting more than one proposal to deliver commercial pilot training services at our airport.
“The Virgin Australia Group has put forward a very compelling proposition, one that makes best use of our facilities and offers a sustainable return for Tamworth Regional Airport.
“While details of our agreement will be released in due course, we remain impressed with the innovative approach taken by the Virgin Australia Group and their genuine desire to work in partnership with Council, our airport and the business community.
“It is thanks to visionary community leaders of the past that today we can offer such well-established pilot training facilities. It is now time for Tamworth Regional Council’s vision, along with the global vision of the Virgin Australia Group, for Tamworth Regional Airport to grow and become a world-class Aviation Centre of Excellence.”
The Virgin Australia Group and Tamworth Regional Council will provide more information on the Virgin Australia Group establishing an Aviation Centre of Excellence in the coming months.
IT IS believed Qantas will not bring its regional pilot academy to Tamworth.
Tamworth Regional Council voted on a report at last night’s council’s meeting regarding the the pilot training academy.
The report provided details on three separate proposals available to council with regard to the utilisation of the existing pilot training facilities at the airport and recommended a preferred provider to progress and finalise negotiations.
Toowoomba was chosen as Qantas’ first choice for the regional academy which will train as many as 500 pilots a year.
Tamworth was on a shortlist for a second location which included: Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, and Wagga Wagga.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray will hold a press conference this morning.
More to come.