The Qantas Group Pilot Academy management team visited Busselton today, July 19, as part of a process to select a location for the airlines new Pilot Academy.
The academy, due to open its doors in 2019, is part of the Qantas Groups plans to build a long-term talent pipeline for its airlines and meet the increasing need for skilled aviators.
Busselton is one of nine regional cities shortlisted to be home to the academy.
Criteria included runway length, weather conditions to allow for a minimum of 300 days per year suitable for flying, access to uncongested and uncontrolled airspace, and infrastructure to accommodation up to 100 students in the first year of operation.
The Qantas Group Pilot Academy management team, including executive manager Wes Nobelius and QantasLink chief pilot Adrian Young visited the Busselton-Margaret River Airport site.
“Our team met with local government leaders and the Busselton Airport team today to tour the facilities and assess the feasibility of our academy being set up here,” Mr Nobelius said.
“It will be a competitive process as we visit all nine regional shortlisted cities to go through in detail whats required to establish the Academy, and ensure it is sustainable in the long term.”
A recent survey of the 14,000 aspiring pilots, who have indicated their interest in the academy, showed that a vast majority of respondents would be open to live, and train, in any of the nine shortlisted regional cities.
A final decision on the academys location is expected to be made in the third quarter of this year.
Qantas expects the academy will represent an investment of up to $20 million for the project.
It is expected the academy will employ more than 40 people in training and support roles, and partner with local businesses and suppliers to support key administrative and catering functions.
Qantas has said following a final decision, cities could still be in contention to host a second academy if the demand for pilots was strong enough, including training foreign students on behalf of airlines overseas, for up to 500 pilots a year.