The new Pilot Academy in Toowoomba, close to Brisbane, Australia, will have the capacity to train up to 250 pilots each year.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, said: “Opening our new Pilot Academy is a historic moment for Qantas, for aviation in Australia and for the thousands of future pilots who will learn how to fly here in Toowoomba.
Qantas Group pilots have a long-held reputation for being amongst the best in the world because of their high standards of training, and that tradition continues with the launch of our own Pilot Academy.”
The training facilities comprise a 1500 square metre hangar, four flight training simulators, classrooms as well as purpose-built pre-flight briefing and flight scheduling areas.
The students are learning to fly in single-engine Diamond DA40 and multi-engine DA42 aircraft.
The Academy also aims to increase the proportion of female and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pilots in the industry. Mr Joyce said, in its centenary year, Qantas will provide three scholarships for Indigenous students, each valued at $85,000, with future scholarships available for female students and candidates from regional and remote areas: “When we announced the academy, we said we wanted to tap into a broader, more diverse talent base. Through our scholarship program we’re encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, women and regional students to pursue a career in aviation to ensure the pilots in the cockpit better reflect the diversity of those sitting in the cabin,” he said.
The first 34 students started their training at the new facilities earlier this month, with 100 students expected to be in training by the end of 2020.
The Academy is expected to eventually grow to have the potential to train as many as 500 pilots a year across Toowoomba and Mackay, the preferred location for the second Academy site.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “My government will always fight to secure these kind of investments for our regions – this drives our commitment to deliver more jobs and opportunities to regional communities like Toowoomba. As the academy begins to reach its full capacity, eventually training 250 pilots a year, up to 160 new jobs will be created in training and support roles.”
After completing the twelve-month training, the graduates will hold a commercial pilot licence and join the Qantas Group’s pilot talent pool, as well as having access to opportunities with partner airlines.
The Qantas Group has appointed FTA as the training provider for the Toowoomba site. Established in Adelaide, FTA has almost 40 years’ experience in pilot training and works with a number of domestic and overseas airlines.