Qantas pilot academy bid ‘unique and powerful’

Published: 27 Sep 2018 12:09pm

Wagga Wagga’s future as an aviation centre of excellence remains bright despite the announcement today the first Qantas Group Pilot Academy will be constructed in Toowoomba.

Wagga Wagga City Council General Manager Peter Thompson congratulated Toowoomba Regional Council on its successful submission and quickly focused on the merit of Wagga Wagga to provide high quality pilot training.

“Well done and congratulations to Toowoomba which has secured this facility,” Mr Thompson said.

Mr Thompson said the proposal developed by Wagga Wagga City Council and Charles Sturt University was “unique and powerful” and while Wagga has not been chosen by Qantas for today’s announcement, he is confident the proposal itself will be attractive to the industry.

“What we offered was something different. It was a very powerful bid,” Mr Thompson said.

“Wagga Wagga has a compelling case to host this type of facility in line with our partnership with Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the infrastructure already in place at Wagga Airport.”

Mr Thompson said there was now an even greater opportunity to capitalise on a global shortage of pilots, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, which may ultimately work in Wagga Wagga’s favour as a preferred option.

“We have an airport that has capacity, we have very clear blue skies with few restrictions, we have a university that has lecturing space and accommodation that can house an academy and provide tertiary qualifications in addition to pilot qualifications. We’ll be pursuing that.”

Mr Thompson said Council will continue to discuss its proposal exclusively with Qantas.

“If we are ultimately not chosen for the second Qantas site then we will turn to pursuing new opportunities with the support and backing of the local business community,” Mr Thompson said.

“The community has given us a loud message they want growth in the Wagga Wagga area.

“That means new business, as opposed to reproducing old business, and this is a great example of an opportunity to do that.”

Charles Sturt University (CSU) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann congratulated Wagga Wagga City Council on the bid process and re-affirmed its support to pursue pilot education and training.

“We wholeheartedly support Wagga Wagga looking for new opportunities and believe we have strong resources and facilities to support that,” Professor Vann said.

“Wagga Wagga has so much to offer this industry. The combination of the city’s aviation facilities and tertiary education opportunities through CSU provides an attractive option for pilot training in a leading regional city.”