Qantas Airlines has announced its preferred location for its second group pilot academy site.
Mackay, Queensland, has been chosen following a competitive process to select two locations from a shortlist of nine regional cities, with Toowoomba in southern Queensland announced as the first location for the Academy last September.
The Academy is part of the Qantas Group’s strategy to build a long-term talent pipeline for its own airlines and help the broader industry meet the increasing need for skilled aviators.
Estimates suggest that 790,000 more pilots will be required globally over the next 20 years with around one third of them in the Asia Pacific.
Mackay was selected due to a high proportion of clear weather days per year, access to uncongested airspace, access to support infrastructure and ability to attract students and trainers to live in the area, a Qantas statement said.
Qantas will now work with Mackay Regional Council, Mackay Airport and the Queensland Government to further progress the proposal for the site.
In the meantime, Qantas is focused on opening the Pilot Academy’s first site in Toowoomba which is on track to open its doors to the first student intake in September 2019 with construction on hangars, classrooms and student accommodation underway.
Qantas Group pilot academy executive manager Wes Nobelius said: “Mackay offers optimal flying conditions and a sunny Queensland lifestyle which makes it an ideal site for a pilot academy.
“Our initial focus is opening the first Pilot Academy site in Toowoomba and rapidly expanding the number of pilots there next year, before we progress our plans for Mackay.”