Qantas says it will establish a new pilot training academy with the capacity to train up to 500 pilots a year.
To be called the Qantas Group Pilot Academy, the school will open its doors in 2019 and is initially for direct entry cadets joining the Qantas Group, including Jetstar and QantasLink.
The academy would initially train about 100 pilots a year, while depending on demand from other parts of the industry, this could grow to 500 pilots a year on a fee for service basis.
“Over time, we see huge potential for the academy to train for the industry more broadly,” Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said on Thursday.
“We have some of the most talented pilots in the world flying for us, so imagine the demand to have Qantas pilots train others.”
Qantas will invest an initial $20 million in the new academy, which will likely be established at an “existing airfield in regional Australia”. The airline says it will partner with “one of several existing training providers” to establish the academy, and that it “will also engage with federal, state and territory governments to discuss possible locations”.
“Ultimately, we expected the Qantas Group Pilot Academy to be one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere, capable of producing 500 pilots a year,” Joyce said.
Boeing’s 2017-2036 Pilot and Technician Outlook, published in July, showed there was a need for 637,000 new commercial airline pilots. The Asia Pacific would comprise the largest source of demand with 40 per cent of new pilots to be recruited in the region between now and 2036.
“That level of demand makes the academy important not just for Qantas but for Australian aviation more broadly so that all parts of the industry have access to qualified pilots in a country that relies so heavily on air transport,” Joyce said
“Over time, we see potential for the academy to become a competitive advantage for Australia in the region. It could train pilots for other airlines and grow into the largest academy of its kind in the southern hemisphere.”
Qantas Group Pilot Academy students, typically expected to be high school and university graduates with “strong academic performance”, would undergo 18 months of classroom, flight and simulator training. They would then “receive further training specific to the type of aircraft they will be flying before entering service as a First Officer on turboprop aircraft, sitting next to an experienced captain,” Qantas said.
Since 2016, the Qantas Group has hired almost 600 new pilots in Australia, with another 350 to be recruited by the end of this calendar year.
Potential applicants to the academy can register their interest here.