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Qantas picks Mackay as second site for pilot training academy

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 5, 2019

Mackay Airport has landed the Qantas pilot academy. (Mackay Airport)
Mackay Airport has landed the Qantas pilot academy. (Mackay Airport)

Qantas has chosen Mackay in central Queensland as the second site for its proposed pilot training academy.

The airline group said on Friday Mackay beat six other shortlisted candidates – Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, and Wagga Wagga – because of the city’s “high proportion of clear weather days per year, access to uncongested airspace, access to support infrastructure and ability to attract students and trainers to live in the area”.

Qantas Group Pilot Academy executive manager Wes Nobelius said Mackay’s airport, local government and community put in an impressive bid.

“Mackay offers optimal flying conditions and a sunny Queensland lifestyle which makes it an ideal site for a pilot academy,” Nobelius said in a statement.

“It’s home to good infrastructure, a proud community – even a new, state-of-the-art sport and recreation precinct for students, trainers and their families.”


Mackay will join Toowoomba in Queensland’s Darling Downs as one of two campuses for Qantas’s pilot academy.

The Toowoomba school at Wellcamp Airport was due to receive its first students in September 2019.

However, the inaugural class will be housed at temporary accommodations at the University of Southern Queensland while facilities such as hangars, classrooms and student accomodation were being built at Wellcamp Airport.

The construction was expected to be completed by January 2020.

It was announced in May pilot training at Wellcamp would be run by Flight Training Adelaide (FTA).

United States-based L3 Commercial Aviation had been named as the training provider when Wellcamp was unveiled as the initial site for the pilot school in September 2018.

However, L3 Commercial Aviation dropped out of the project in March 2019, saying at the time it was unable to reach an agreement with Qantas.

Some of the Qantas group’s senior pilots also would be part of a mentoring program.

In August 2018, Qantas said it was aiming its pilot training academy operating from two Australian regional centres by 2020.

However, Friday’s statement did not offer a proposed opening date for its Mackay campus. Also, a training provider has not been appointed.

Instead, the airline group said it was focused on getting Wellcamp up and running before turning its attention to the proposed Mackay school.

Further, it was working with Mackay Regional Council, Mackay Airport and the Queensland government to “further progress the proposal for the site”.

An supplied image from September 2018 showing designs of the Qantas pilot academy facilities at Wellcamp Airport. (Qantas)
An supplied image from September 2018 showing designs of the Qantas pilot academy facilities at Wellcamp Airport. (Qantas)


The 2018-2037 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook showed 790,000 new pilots would be needed over the next two decades across the commercial, business and helicopter sector.

Further, it forecast demand for 754,000 new aviation technicians between now and 2037.

Asia Pacific represented the largest source of demand with 31 per cent of all new pilots, 34.1 per cent of all technicians and 36.1 per cent of all cabin crew to be recruited in the region between now and 2037.

Boeing's pilot forecast for 2018-2037. (Boeing)
Boeing’s pilot forecast for 2018-2037. (Boeing)

More information about Qantas pilot academy, including how to apply, can be found here.

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Comment (1)

  • James


    Good on them. I’m sure the local community will be happy about it.

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