A world-class pilot school for students from Australia and around the globe, is the ultimate objective of the Qantas Group Pilot Academy being constructed in Toowoomba.
A Qantas Group spokesperson said, Qantas, in partnership with the Queensland Government and the Wagner Corporation, who own Wellcamp airport, where the academy will be situated, “are building state-of-the-art training facilities and student accommodation”, with the academy due to open its doors to the first intake of students in mid-2019.
In May 2018, regional cities and state governments were invited to coordinate their applications, putting forward their best case to be the home of the new pilot academy.
Criteria included access to uncongested airspace, a certain number of clear weather days per year and infrastructure to support and accommodate up to 100 students in the first year of operation.
In late September, the Qantas Group announced Toowoomba as the first academy location, with another location to be named in the future.
“Toowoomba is home to Australia’s newest airport, Wellcamp, and benefits from over 300 days of Queensland sunshine each year and an environment that is textbook for pilot training,” the Qantas Group spokesperson said.
“The region itself is a great place to live, work and study, making it easy to attract students and trainers to the area. It’s also close to Brisbane, meaning it has great connectivity with the rest of Australia and the world.”
The spokesperson said the investment in new infrastructure is estimated at $35 million, with the majority of this funding contributed from private sector partners.
“The academy is expected to create more than 100 direct jobs and around 300 indirect jobs in the local construction industry.
“A new hangar will be built together with classrooms and student accommodation to support training for up to 250 students who will attend the academy.
“The academy site will also create 160 ongoing support roles and opportunities for local businesses and the greater economy.”
The Qantas Group Pilot Academy forms part of the Qantas Group’s strategy to build a long-term talent pipeline for its own airlines and the broader industry, both in Australia and overseas to meet the need for skilled aviators.
“Boeing estimates that 790,000 more pilots will be required globally over the next 20 years with around one third of them in the Asia Pacific.”
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said 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 Australian Defence Force or services like the Royal Flying Doctors,” Mr Joyce said.
“Qantas has a well-earned reputation of having some of the world’s best pilots. For many of them, the journey will start in Toowoomba.”
Almost 17,000 people have so far registered their interest in the academy via qantas.com/pilotacademy.
Qantas is encouraging more women to consider a career in aviation, which globally stands at just three per cent. To date, around 16pc of people registering interest are female.