QantasLink has partnered with five universities to offer aviation students the opportunity to work as a pilot at the Qantas regional carrier.
Students at the Griffith University, RMIT University, the University of NSW, the University of Southern Queensland and Swinburne University of Technology will be able to apply for a 12-week airline transition course at the end of their degree.
They would then be mentored by QantasLink pilots and trainers to be qualified first officers on Q400 and Q300 turboprops.
QantasLink said on Tuesday the Qantas Future Pilot program would be launched in January 2018, with applications now open “to all future and current aviation students at all stages of their degree”.
“The students chosen for this program will have an enormous head start to their career as a pilot,” QantasLink chief executive John Gissing said in a statement.
“They will benefit from a direct pathway to Australia’s largest regional airline and access to our experienced pilots throughout their studies.
“Together with these leading universities, this program will arm high-performing motivated students with the skills needed to transition into an airline and provide them with a platform from which to launch their career as a pilot within the Qantas Group.”
QantasLink said the program would be open to a “potential pool of 300 students each year”. The airline said it would continue to recruit direct entry First Officers and trainee First Officers.
In October, Virgin Australia relaunched its pilot cadet program with Flight Training Adelaide (FTA), with an Ab Initio program for those with little or no flying experience and an Advanced program for those already holding a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) commercial pilot license.
Boeing 2017-2036 Pilot and Technician Outlook, published in July, showed there was a need for 637,000 new commercial airline pilots, 648,000 airline maintenance technicians and 839,000 new cabin crew members around the world over the next two decades.
The Asia Pacific would comprise the largest source of demand with 40 per cent of new pilots, 39 per cent of technicians and 37 per cent of cabin crew to be recruited in the region between now and 2036.