Australia’s Qantas is poised to locate both of its new pilot training academies in Queensland after rejecting proposals from other states in a competitive tender.
The flying kangaroo nominated Queensland regional center Mackay as the preferred center for its second Qantas Group Pilot Academy. It announced in September that Toowoomba in southern Queensland would be the location of the first academy.
The airline did not give a timeframe for the second facility and said it would concentrate first on getting its Toowoomba academy up and running.
Despite an early glitch which saw the initial training contractor pull out, Qantas says the Toowoomba facility is on track to open its doors to the first student intake in September this year.
Construction of hangars, classrooms and student accommodation is underway and the new training provider, Flight Training Adelaide, is working through the selection process for the first student intake.
The academies are part of a push by the Qantas Group to ensure it has enough pilots for its airlines in the face of burgeoning demand estimated at about 790,000 pilots globally over the next 20 years.
Qantas said it would work to advance the proposal for the second academy with Mackay Regional Council, Mackay Airport and the Queensland Government.
It said Mackay was selected due to a high proportion of clear weather days per year, the ability to attract students and trainers as well as access to uncongested airspace and support infrastructure.
“Mackay offers optimal flying conditions and a sunny Queensland lifestyle which makes it an ideal site for a pilot academy,” Qantas Pilot Academy executive manager Wes Nobelius said.
“It’s home to good infrastructure, a proud community – even a new, state-of-the-art sport and recreation precinct for students, trainers and their families.”
Missing out on the facility, assuming negotiations in Mackay go smoothly, are Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Victoria’s Bendigo, Busselton in Western Australia, Launceston in Tasmania as well as Dubbo and Wagga Wagga in NSW.