First students take off at Toowoomba Qantas pilot academy
JUST over a year since Toowoomba was announced as the location for Qantas' first pilot academy, the school's inaugural students will enter the cockpit for the first time today.
QantasLink Chief Executive John Gissing said the first day of class was an exciting moment for students and an important milestone for the academy.
"The Qantas Group Pilot Academy was born out of a need to create the next generation of Australian pilots and together with our partners, we're very excited to welcome the first intake here today," Mr Gissing said.
"Throughout their course, these students will have access to world-class training and mentoring from some of the Qantas Group's most senior pilots."
The academy, based at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, is still under construction, so students will be housed at the University of Southern Queensland before building is completed in January.
Acting State Development Minister Mark Furner said Toowoomba could be proud these pilots of the future would make the Darling Downs their home as they embarked on their first steps to be future aviators.
"This is a giant step forward for Toowoomba's growing aviation industry and the start of an exciting new chapter in Queensland's journey as a leader in aviation training," he said.
"This project is a great example of the State Government working with the private sector and local councils to create world-class facilities, which contribute to the long-term economically sustainable future of regional communities."
The Qantas Group Pilot Training Academy will have capacity to train up to 250 pilots each year at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and will create up to 160 jobs in training and support roles.
Documents submitted to the Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the academy's development application revealed the school could be expanded in the future to train up to 840 students a year.
"Construction of the academy is well under way and is already creating up to 100 direct jobs and up to 300 additional jobs in the wider construction sector," Mr Furner said.
"Business, highly skilled jobs, training and career opportunities are sure to flow from this pilot training academy and the Toowoomba region is ideally placed to take advantage of that."
Wagner Corporation spokesman Neill Wagner said it was a great privilege to welcome the first academy student pilots to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
"We are proud that these student's flying career will begin here on the Darling Downs," Mr Wagner said.
Qantas will also build an academy in Mackay.