Qantas announced last week that it is looking for two locations around Australia to establish flying training academies instead of only one as originally stated.
According to the airline, the second location has become necessary because of the forecast demand for pilots and the interest the airline has received for flight training.
Plans for the Qantas Group Pilot Academy were announced in February this year and it’s expected the first site will be operational during 2019. Nine regional cities across Australia – Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth, Toowoomba and Wagga Wagga – have been shortlisted as potential sites, with an announcement expected in the next few weeks.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said that initial scoping had shown that two locations would be needed to reach the academy’s potential.
“We’re aiming to train up to 100 pilots in year one but we expect this to grow to as many as 500 a year and that can only be achieved if we have more than one location,” he said.
“Adding up to 250 students plus instructors and support staff to any of these places needs the right infrastructure at airports, but also in the towns themselves.
“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 defence force or services like the Royal Flying Doctors.”
Boeing’s latest estimates show that 790,000 more pilots will be required globally over the next 20 years, around one third of them in Asia Pacific, figures which have led to Qantas entering the flight training market.
According to Qantas, almost 17,000 people have so far registered their interest in the Qantas Group Pilot Academy, 16% of which are femaie, a mark much higher than the current industry participation of 3% female.