Qantas has announced Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba as the first of two sites for its pilot training academy.
The facility at Wellcamp Airport, which will be built to handle up to 250 students a year and will comprise a new hangar, classrooms and accommodation facilities, is expected to open in mid-2019, Qantas announced on Thursday.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Wellcamp Airport owner and operator Wagner Corporation director Denis Wagner made the official announcement at Wellcamp Airport.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce announcing Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport will be the site of the first Qantas pilot training academy. pic.twitter.com/vhGEGRdLGl
— Robyn Ironside (@ironsider) September 27, 2018
Construction of the $35 million facility is expected to start in October, with the “majority of this funding contributed from private sector partners”.
Further, Qantas said L3 Commercial Aviation will be the training provider for the Toowoomba site. It will be the company’s first training school in Australia. Qantas said L3 will use a mix of modern single and twin-engine aircraft with glass cockpits to support the training.
Joyce said the pitch from the airport, state and local governments, and the local community convinced Qantas that Toowoomba was a great choice.
“Toowoomba will be an amazing place to learn to fly,” Joyce said in a statement.
“It’s home to Australia’s newest airport and offers over 300 days of Queensland sunshine each year and an environment that is textbook for pilot training.
“In partnership with the Queensland Government and the Wagner Corporation, who own the airport, we’ll build state-of-the-art training facilities and student accommodation. What we’re ultimately creating is a world-class pilot school for students from Australia and around the globe.”
Wellcamp was chosen from a list of nine shortlisted regional centres announced earlier in 2018.
Qantas planned to have a second location for its flight school up and running by 2020, with the remaining eight cities on the shortlist – Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga were still under consideration for the second academy site.
The airline said about 18,000 people have registered their interest in the academy.
Premier Palaszczuk welcomed the investment being made in Toowoomba.
“The Q in Qantas stands for Queensland and it’s clear that home is where Qantas’s heart is,” Palaszczuk said in the Qantas statement.
Wagner said the world-class facilities would “enhance the training opportunities for our future airline pilots”.
“This decision by the Qantas Group highlights that when the private sector, Australia’s national carrier, the Queensland State Government and our local Council work cohesively, we can achieve a long term economically sustainable future for our regional communities,” Wagner said.