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Bid for pilot training academy unsuccessful

25 June 2018

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Mary-Ann Brown says Council is disappointed but not discouraged after learning its bid to host the QANTAS Regional Pilot Academy was unsuccessful.

Last month, regional cities and state governments were invited to put forward their case to be the home of the new Pilot Academy. Criteria included access to uncongested airspace, a certain number of clear weather days per year and infrastructure to support and accommodate up to 100 students in the first year of operation.

The Academy, due to open its doors in 2019, is part of the Qantas Group’s plans to build a long-term talent pipeline for its airlines and meet the increasing need for skilled aviators.

Council CEO Michael Tudball said Council officers worked hard over the last few months to put together the bid.

“I’m really pleased with our efforts. We presented a thorough and quality application which clearly demonstrated the capacity of the Greater Hamilton Regional Airport to meet the requirements of the QANTAS Expression of Interest for the new Academy. We were competitive, and I’m confident we put our best case forward,” Mr Tudball said.

More than 60 regional cities put forward a proposal and nine regional cities across Australia, strongly supported by State and Territory Governments, have now been selected to move to the next phase of the process:

  • Alice Springs, Northern Territory
  • Bendigo, Victoria
  • Busselton, Western Australia
  • Dubbo, New South Wales
  • Launceston, Tasmania
  • Mackay, Queensland
  • Tamworth, New South Wales
  • Toowoomba, Queensland
  • Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Mary-Ann Brown said while Council was obviously disappointed to have been left off the shortlist, there were many positives to be gained from the application experience.

“We know we have an excellent facility here in Hamilton, with $6.5 million invested at the Airport over the last two years,” Cr Brown said.

“We were able to meet a number of the criteria required by QANTAS including access to uncongested airspace, student accommodation, lighting capability for night training, navigational equipment and on-field training and administration facilities.

“The Regional Pilot Academy would have had an immediate positive impact on the Greater Hamilton region, providing a huge boost to our economy and potential longer term impact of population growth.

“QANTAS acknowledged our strong application and commented that the opportunity for growth which exists around the Hamilton area is compelling. They have indicated that a second Pilot training facility may be required in the future and we would be encouraged to apply again if that eventuates.

“Council has an important role to play in advocating for opportunities such as these and we will continue to pursue potential avenues to increase commercial activity and utilisation of the Greater Hamilton Regional Airport,” Cr Brown said.

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