Up to 100 construction jobs will soon take off at the new Qantas Group Pilot Academy at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport, with the official turning of the first sod today.
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.
The Academy is part of 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.
Toowoomba was selected as the preferred location for a Qantas Group Pilot Academy site as it is home to Australia’s newest airport (Wellcamp) and offers over 300 days of Queensland sunshine each year and an environment that is textbook for pilot training.
Today Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, said the start of construction of the Academy marks an important milestone in bringing more highly skilled jobs, training and career opportunities to the Darling Downs.
“Construction of hangar, classroom and student accommodation facilities at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport will create up to 100 direct jobs over the construction period, as well as more than 300 in the broader construction sector,” the Minister detailed.
Beyond construction, the Academy is expected to generate ongoing employment for up to 160 people in training and support roles, plus significant flow-on benefits for local businesses.
Mackay Airport was also recently announced as the preferred location for a second Qantas Group Pilot Academy site.
The Minister said the Queensland Government has actively supported and advocated for regional Queensland since Qantas first announced it would build a pilot training academy in two regional locations.
“Support from the Palaszczuk Government’s $150 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund was integral to bringing this academy to the Darling Downs, and I know it will deliver a lasting contribution to the local community,” he said.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor, Paul Antonio, also commented that Qantas Group’s Pilot Academy at Wellcamp Airport will be a great asset for the region and supports their bold ambitions to build on the potential demand for aviation training and importantly maintenance and logistics industries.
“This important piece of infrastructure is much more than just an airport as it has built a sense of self-belief throughout the community that has paved the way for further investment in the Toowoomba Region,” he said.
“We are absolutely delighted to see the academy is progressing to the construction phase as it is a project of regional, state and national significance. In true Wagners style, it’ll probably happen quite quickly.”
Qantas is expected to welcome first students to the Academy next month.