IT'S no surprise to Tamworth Regional Council that the majority of students trained at the Virgin Australia pilot training school won't be Australian.
"It has been talked about that once fully operational, the Virgin Australia Aviation Centre of Excellence would train up to 500 pilots at one time," the council's general manager Paul Bennett said.
"Virgin Australia is 90 per cent foreign owned and we expect that foreign students will make up a similar percentage."
Tamworth has a long history in pilot training with thousands of Australian and international pilots based in the city, Mr Bennett said.
The flight school was announced in October last year, when the council abandoned plans for a Qantas pilot academy and partnered with Virgin Australia instead.
There have been private talks between the council and Virgin Australia, but it's had no dealings with Chinese aviation giants Hainan and Winbright Aviation.
Any Chinese involvement in the Virgin Australia pilot training school is news to Tamworth Regional Council, Mr Bennett said.
"Hainan is a part owner of Virgin Australia but we have had no dealings with them," he said.
"Council had never heard of Winbright Aviation until the story was published in national media [last week]."
A Winbright and Hainan aviation project that offers to train Chinese students to be pilots in Australia, launched exclusively to Chinese media two months before a deal was signed with Virgin in Tamworth.
The Sydney launch was attended by Virgin's chief executive Peter Cai, who gave a speech at the event.
Tamworth council was unaware of any such project launch, Mr Bennett said.
On Friday, Virgin Australia told the Leader there had been no conversations with Chinese conglomerates about a pilot training school for international students in Tamworth.